verb (1)
\ ˈsȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce soil (audio) \
soiled; soiling; soils

Definition of soil

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to stain or defile morally : corrupt
2 : to make unclean especially superficially : dirty
3 : to blacken or taint (something, such as a person's reputation) by word or deed

intransitive verb

: to become soiled or dirty


noun (1)

Definition of soil (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : soilage, stain protect a dress from soil
b : moral defilement : corruption
2 : something that spoils or pollutes: such as
a : refuse
b : sewage


noun (2)

Definition of soil (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : firm land : earth
2a : the upper layer of earth that may be dug or plowed and in which plants grow
b : the superficial unconsolidated and usually weathered part of the mantle of a planet and especially of the earth
3 : country, land our native soil
4 : the agricultural life or calling
5 : a medium in which something takes hold and develops


verb (2)
soiled; soiling; soils

Definition of soil (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to feed (livestock) in the barn or an enclosure with fresh grass or green food also : to purge (livestock) by feeding on green food

First Known Use of soil

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

1501, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1605, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for soil

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French soiller, suiller, from Old French soil wallow of a wild boar, abyss, from Latin solium chair, bathtub; akin to Latin sedēre to sit — more at sit

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, soil, piece of land, from Vulgar Latin *solium, alteration of Latin solea sole, sandal, foundation timber — more at sole

Verb (2)

origin unknown

Learn More About soil

Time Traveler for soil

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Soil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for soil


\ ˈsȯil How to pronounce soil (audio) \
soiled; soiling

Kids Definition of soil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make or become dirty I soiled my shirt while cooking.



Kids Definition of soil (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the loose surface material of the earth in which plants grow
2 : country sense 1, land my native soil

Other Words from soil

soilless \ ˈsȯil-​ləs \ adjective


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