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
b : stratum
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


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


We layered the fruit with whipped cream and served it with cookies.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

By taking a core sample of sediments just off the coast of Southern California, the scientists could observe in its layers how plastic concentrations have changed year after year. Wired, "Plastic Will Be the Shameful Artifact Our Descendants Dig Up," 4 Sep. 2019 Their distinctiveness is a product of their contradictions, their layers. Michele Moses, The New Yorker, "A Bot That Captures the Ambivalence of Human Emotion," 4 Sep. 2019 The edgy mouthpiece paired nicely with her layers of necklaces, and big curly ‘do. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "5 Times Beyoncé Gave Us A Wildly Different Beauty Look And We Loved It," 4 Sep. 2019 Waves' power is inseparable from its intricate aesthetic layers. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Waves': Film Review | Telluride 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 Red pandas are named for their thick, woolly layer of fur that has a rusty red color. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "’3 pounds of adorable’: Baby red panda at zoo’s Virginia facility is growing," 30 Aug. 2019 In this final sequence, Euphoria finally peels away all its layers of smug, prepare-to-be-shocked pretension and exposes its deeply sincere, teenaged heart. Constance Grady, Vox, "Why Euphoria’s messy season finale could mean great things for the show’s future," 11 Aug. 2019 Each of these, in turn, has different branches based on the structure of its layers and communications networks, types of calculations performed, and so on. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "One chip to rule them all: It natively runs all types of AI software," 31 July 2019 Armed with tons of TNT and ammonium nitrate, NASA worked with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to blast craters into this swath of land chosen for its many layers of volcanic cinders, which approximated the look and feel of the moon’s surface. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "Before Going to the Moon, Apollo 11 Astronauts Trained at These Five Sites," 17 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Sure, men are generally less willing to devote themselves to a complex beauty routine, while women are more likely to layer various types of serums and creams that address different issues. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "Can I Use My Boyfriend’s Moisturizer?," 30 Aug. 2019 To layer additional pressure, the loud music that played throughout the day stopped and no one spoke. Kalyn Kahler,, "Madness at 43 Yards: The Bears Kicker Competition Through the Eyes of Those Who Lived It," 21 Aug. 2019 Up For the most plump look, Kassajikian says to layer two shades of lipstick for dimension. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "The 10 Best Lipstick Tips Ever. Period.," 2 Aug. 2019 Songwriters gather in camps to layer mathematical hooks over sticky beats. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "'It Feels Like I’m Chosen to Do This.' Inside the Record-Breaking Rise of Lil Nas X," 15 Aug. 2019 Participants will see how to layer two versions of paella — one with meats and seafood, one with vegetables — and taste them. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cooking classes at Shully's in Thiensville tackle paella and brining," 22 July 2019 But the reasons for many of this neighborhood’s restaurant closings are layered. Josie Sexton, The Denver Post, "Where has Denver’s soul food gone? In a historically black neighborhood, the last restaurant of its kind turns 20," 12 June 2019 On all sides, walls of nearly pure quartz sandstone rise up, the sparkly tan of raw cane sugar, layered with bands of different shades. Geoffrey Giller, Discover Magazine, "The Midwestern Sand Mines Feeding the Fracking Industry," 26 Apr. 2019 Really small, weird rooms and like a lot of eighties houses, with interesting things layered on top of this 1926 jewel. Joanna Saltz, House Beautiful, "Five Designers on How to Make Old Things New Again," 8 Feb. 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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Statistics for layer

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for layer

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

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More Definitions for layer



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with layer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for layer

Spanish Central: Translation of layer

Nglish: Translation of layer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of layer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on layer

What made you want to look up layer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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