lay·​er | \ ˈlā-ər How to pronounce layer (audio) , ˈler \

Definition of layer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one that lays something (such as a worker who lays brick or a hen that lays eggs)
2a : one thickness, course, or fold laid or lying over or under another
3a : a branch or shoot of a plant that roots while still attached to the parent plant
b : a plant developed by layering


layered; layering; layers

Definition of layer (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to propagate (a plant) by means of layers
2a : to place as a layer
b : to place a layer on top of pancakes layered with butter and syrup
c : to form or arrange in layers

intransitive verb

1a : to separate into layers
b : to form out of superimposed layers
2 of a plant : to form roots where a stem comes in contact with the ground

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Other Words from layer


layered \ ˈlā-​ərd How to pronounce layered (audio) , ˈlerd \ adjective

Examples of layer in a Sentence

Noun Everything was covered by a thin layer of sand. The top layer of the rug is badly worn but the bottom layer is still OK. The cake has three layers. She glued together several layers of paper. He was wearing several layers of clothing. rocks that formed in layers from flows of lava Verb We layered the fruit with whipped cream and served it with cookies.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet that is big enough to fit all the chicken in a single layer on medium high., "Recipe: Chicken with Blood Oranges and Olives," 27 Nov. 2019 Mochi — Ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of Japanese mochi rice dough, which costs $3.88 for two, $6.88 for four and $10.88 for eight. Rod Stafford Hagwood,, "Mount Fuji-inspired Asian desserts sweeten South Florida’s restaurant scene," 26 Nov. 2019 Spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet, allowing space in between the cubes when possible, and making sure the sage leaves are somewhat evenly distributed. Katie Workman, NBC News, "The only roasted butternut squash recipe you need for Thanksgiving and beyond," 24 Nov. 2019 Spread the squash out in a single layer and bake until the slices turn golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes. Nik Sharma,, "Brown Kitchen: Squash does double duty in savory and sweet recipes," 22 Nov. 2019 Prevent cold air from getting through to your legs in a protective layer of patent. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Winter Style Survival Guide: 6 Warm Pants to Keep on Rotation This Season," 15 Nov. 2019 Arrange tots in single layer in air fryer basket and cook 20 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Totchos," 15 Nov. 2019 Distribute in a single layer on an unlined baking sheet (the more contact with the pan, the browner your potatoes will be) and roast until cooked through—anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes (or more!) depending on the size of the pieces. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "How to Roast Sweet Potatoes That Are Charred on the Outside and Pudding-y in the Middle," 15 Nov. 2019 Homemade stuffing often calls for stale bread; cut and cube the bread now, and set the cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet. oregonlive, "Cut Thanksgiving stress with this handy holiday checklist," 13 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some of your winter basics—like sweaters that can be layered, cozy PJs, office-appropriate button-fronts and handbags—always stay the same. CNN Underscored, "The best Black Friday deals to shop on Amazon," 29 Nov. 2019 Kim shared that Bella's mani was a mix of two shades from professional nail brand Kiara Sky: Haute Chocolate, a classic warm brown, was layered atop the jet-black shade Back to Black to create Bella's unique shade. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "We Can't Get Enough of Bella Hadid's '90s Chocolate Brown Manicure," 5 Nov. 2019 Skin Goals Think of all the products that are layered onto the skin daily. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "The Compact," 10 Oct. 2019 Watercolors are luminescent and express so much as the colors are layered to develop detail and depth. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kids learn about their community, improve reading ability in ‘City Adventure’ book series," 29 Sep. 2019 Thinly sliced, delicate hamachi is layered with pungent jalapeno and sweet orange segments,with olive oil adding a touch of richness to this light and refreshing compilation. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "This Japanese restaurant on Bardstown Road falls short of serving A+ sushi," 4 Sep. 2019 Giglio recommends the Stila Correct & Perfect All-In-One Color Correcting Palette, $45, which is a versatile, creamy palette of five color-correctors that can be layered with other powders and creams. 2. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Apply Makeup When You Have Freckles, According to Makeup Artists," 3 Dec. 2018 Jenner then shared a close-up snap of Travis' neck, which is heavily layered with diamond chains. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott Wear Matching Diamonds Cut Into Stormi's Name," 25 Oct. 2018 Audio from a baseball game is layered onto the video, and the crack of a bat plays as the dolphin’s powerful tail whips against the fish’s side. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian, "Watch Dolphins Punt, Thrash and Trap Their Prey," 14 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'layer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of layer


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1832, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for layer

Time Traveler

The first known use of layer was in the 13th century

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Statistics for layer

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Layer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for layer


How to pronounce layer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of layer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount of something that is spread over an area
: a covering piece of material or a part that lies over or under another
: a bird that lays eggs



English Language Learners Definition of layer (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form or arrange parts or pieces of something on top of each other : to form or arrange (something) in layers


lay·​er | \ ˈlā-ər How to pronounce layer (audio) \

Kids Definition of layer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one thickness of something laid over another a layer of rock
2 : a person who lays something
3 : a bird that lays eggs


layered; layering

Kids Definition of layer (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form or arrange one thickness of something over another We layered the fruit with whipped cream.


lay·​er | \ ˈlā-ər, ˈle(-ə)r How to pronounce layer (audio) \

Medical Definition of layer

1 : one thickness, course, or fold laid or lying over or under another
2 : stratum sense 1 the outer layers of the skin

Other Words from layer

layer verb

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More from Merriam-Webster on layer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for layer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with layer

Spanish Central: Translation of layer

Nglish: Translation of layer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of layer for Arabic Speakers

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