soil

1 of 4

verb (1)

soiled; soiling; soils

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

soil

2 of 4

noun (1)

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

soil

3 of 4

noun (2)

1
: firm land : earth
2
a
: 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

soil

4 of 4

verb (2)

soiled; soiling; soils

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

Examples of soil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Everything from banana peels and used coffee grounds to yard waste and soiled paper products like pizza boxes counts as organic waste. Amy Taxin, Fortune, 19 Feb. 2024 Then Helen is caught unprepared when her period comes early, soiling her lame pants and totally embarrassing her. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, 11 Feb. 2024 The non-food contact surfaces that were soiled similarly were sides of all cooking equipment; the hood area above the cooking area; and the reach-in chest freezer gasket. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 7 Feb. 2024 The washing machine features 16 convenient wash cycles, including heavy-duty, perm press, delicates, eco options, and super soiled, and they can all be set via the touchpad on the machine. Kat De Naoum, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Feb. 2024 The nest material will be soiled and mites could be present. Taylor Piephoff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Jurors found Rodriguez not guilty on a count that alleged the boy was strapped to a bed and a count alleging he was thrown into cold showers for soiling himself. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 10 Jan. 2024 The first time officials used the WRAP, according to the suit, Tendo was not permitted to use the restroom and soiled himself. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, 2 Jan. 2024 Democrats will go into the 2024 election seeking once again to define Trump as an illiberal force bent on soiling our civic fabric, thus building on the pro-democracy message of the 2022 midterms—which pundits pooh-poohed but voters embraced. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 4 Nov. 2023
Noun
Don't use potting soil or other lightweight soils, which can float to the surface. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 21 Feb. 2024 When Modi came to power in 2014, India ranked 155 out of 178 countries assessed by the Environmental Performance Index, which estimates the sustainability of a country’s development in terms of the state of its air, water, soils, natural habitats, and so on. Ramachandra Guha, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Housing and energy infrastructure and other landscape-level changes kick up soil and produce dust. Zoya Teirstein, WIRED, 17 Feb. 2024 This could particularly help when teas are grown in soils low in nitrogen. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 15 Feb. 2024 Texas can build border fencing on Texas soil, obviously not in the waters of the Rio Grande. Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 15 Feb. 2024 The courses cover subjects such as how to care for citrus plants and maintain healthy soil, as well as guidance on raising more unusual plants like staghorn ferns or bonsai. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Feb. 2024 Experts found the frogs in two forest environments, both with clay and white-sand soil. Moira Ritter, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024 Be certain those plants are adapted to your soils and your climate. Neil Sperry, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'soil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near soil

Cite this Entry

“Soil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/soil. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

soil

1 of 3 verb
: to make or become dirty

soil

2 of 3 noun
1
a
b
: moral soilage : corruption
2
: something that soils or pollutes

soil

3 of 3 noun
1
: firm land : earth
2
: the loose surface material of the earth in which plants grow
3
4
: an environment in which something may take root and grow
slums are fertile soil for crime
Etymology

Verb

Middle English soilen "to corrupt, make dirty," from early French soiller "to wallow," from soil "pigsty"

Noun

Middle English soil "earth," from early French soil (same meaning), derived from Latin solea "sole, sandal, foundation timber"

More from Merriam-Webster on soil

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