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 Spread out in an even layer on the prepared sheet pan. Star Tribune, "Sunday Supper: Roasted Arctic Char With Herbs and Roasted Radishes," 31 July 2020 Plus, its special AirScape layer will keep your bed cool and comfortable all night long. Kelsey Mulvey, Popular Mechanics, "Score A Casper Mattress for 15% off This Weekend," 24 July 2020 Puffy solves this problem with its adaptive comfort layer. Mandie Kelleher, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Best Mattresses for Back Pain to Help You Sleep Easy," 19 June 2020 Sprinkle the topping over the apples in an even layer. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Start Your Morning With an Outlander-Inspired Breakfast Recipe," 31 May 2020 Make sure to have potatoes in a single layer without crowding. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "How to make the most of potatoes," 16 May 2020 Arrange in single layer and roast until tender and crisp at edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Crispy Roasted Broccolini," 10 Dec. 2019 Families in these wards are also more likely to rely on public transportation to commute to school, adding an additional layer of risk to their calculations about fall. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "In D.C. wards hit hardest by covid-19, sending kids to school is a risk some parents won’t take," 10 July 2020 Made from rugged Robic nylon, the pack also has a water-repellent coating adds an extra layer of rain protection (though a pack cover should be used in heavy rain). Popular Science, "Excellent hiking backpacks for your next trek," 6 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But modern packaging products, like cartons, tend to layer metal, paper, and plastic to provide a strong, lightweight home for your orange juice. Matt Simon, Wired, "You Don't Need Single-Use Plastic Bags. You Need a Mask," 13 July 2020 Some candies are covered in crunchy sugar crystals, while others layer distinct textures like marshmallow and gelatin. Purbita Saha, Popular Science, "The intense flavor science behind Haribo’s gummies," 17 June 2020 Summer temperatures are here which gives you the perfect excuse to layer your crop top with a flannel shirt or a set of baggy jeans. Nandi Howard, Essence, "The Best Dressed Black Creatives On Instagram This Week," 19 June 2020 The significant dips in the number of working business owners are layered on top of other emerging disparities in the pandemic’s economic impact. Hannah Knowles,, "Minority-owned businesses suffering worse than most, research shows," 25 May 2020 These mundane scenarios are layered with quick cuts, tense music, and emotional talking heads. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Quarantine Made Them Famous — Now What?," 7 May 2020 The living room is layered with a Chinese Art Deco Rug. Lauren Jones, House Beautiful, "This 1970s Michigan Home by Veronica Hamlet Is Covered in Moroccan Textiles," 7 Apr. 2020 Natural nail cells are layered like shingles on the roof. Melissa Magsaysay, Los Angeles Times, "How to gently remove your gel manicure and care for your nails at home," 6 Apr. 2020 This concoction is layered with almonds scented with orange blossom water and baked into a buttery phyllo shell, then dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Lauren Saria, azcentral, "Here's where to find our 14 favorite pies for Pi Day in metro Phoenix," 9 Mar. 2020

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

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Layer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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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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