sub·​soil | \ ˈsəb-ˌsȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce subsoil (audio) \

Definition of subsoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the stratum of weathered material that underlies the surface soil


subsoiled; subsoiling; subsoils

Definition of subsoil (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to turn, break, or stir the subsoil of

Other Words from subsoil


subsoiler noun

Examples of subsoil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Until recently, the site had been deepfrozen in the subsoil known as permafrost. New York Times, 2 Nov. 2021 In villages, locals who previously stored meat and other perishables in cellars dug deep into the ground now must use ordinary deep freezers because of waterlogged subsoil. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 5 Oct. 2021 Remedy heavy clay soil, hard packed subsoil or fast-draining sand by layering on four or more inches of coarse, wood mulch or arborist chips (ground-up trees) that are 1 inch or smaller. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2021 The rationale was that this laborious spadework brought loamy topsoil down to subsoil level to promote deep rooting, relieved soil compaction and allowed the gardener to improve both sandy and clay soils by adding compost. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 14 July 2021 Some foundations penetrate a few feet into the ground at most, but there is no need to penetrate deep into the subsoil or beyond. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 13 May 2021 Willamette Valley ponderosa pine often tolerates and roots into both clayey and rocky subsoil. oregonlive, 26 Dec. 2020 Today farmers in the Piedmont, from Virginia to Alabama between the Atlantic coast and the Appalachian mountains, coax crops from poor subsoil rather than the rich topsoil that early European settlers praised. David R. Montgomery, The Conversation, 5 June 2020 The windblown loess soil comprises freshwater sedimentary topsoil resting over fractured basalt subsoil. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 4 June 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of subsoil


1775, in the meaning defined above


1818, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of subsoil was in 1775

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Dictionary Entries Near subsoil



subsoil plow

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Cite this Entry

“Subsoil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for subsoil


sub·​soil | \ ˈsəb-ˌsȯil How to pronounce subsoil (audio) \

Kids Definition of subsoil

: a layer of soil lying just under the topsoil

More from Merriam-Webster on subsoil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subsoil


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