top·​soil | \ ˈtäp-ˌsȯi(-ə)l \

Definition of topsoil

: surface soil usually including the organic layer in which plants have most of their roots and which the farmer turns over in plowing

Examples of topsoil in a Sentence

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Over the next 2,500 to 4,000 years, the settlements themselves fell into ruin, and eventually farmers plowed the embankments flat and filled in the ditches with topsoil. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Climate change brings Britain and Ireland’s hidden past to the surface," 1 Aug. 2018 The varieties of dirt on Earth alone include black sand, white sand, clay, topsoil. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Create Martian Dirt and It's $20 Per Kilo," 1 Oct. 2018 That thicker layer of loose topsoil retains more moisture and nutrients than the surrounding soil, so plants growing over the filled-in ancient ditch tend to grow taller and greener than those on either side. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Climate change brings Britain and Ireland’s hidden past to the surface," 1 Aug. 2018 These trenches hold on to nutrients and moisture—and when the weather gets scorching, plants draw on the deeper topsoil for sustenance. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Heat Wave is Revealing Centuries-Old Sites in Wales," 11 July 2018 The topsoil of more than a million acres had simply blown away, a portion of it taking to the wind to begrime the nation’s capital. John F. Ross, WSJ, "The Prophet of the Dust Bowl," 14 June 2018 In some yards, much of the original topsoil is gone and needs to be replaced. Debbie Carlson, ajc, "5 mistakes you’re making when purchasing garden supplies," 8 June 2018 For a week now, construction foreman Brad Cederberg’s five-man crew has been covering the rutted infield with 2-3 inches of topsoil, covering that with sod, and dousing that with water. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Austin hopes a new ballfield can help in its battle with opioids and HIV," 21 June 2018 But as the Yadrovo dump overflowed and the organic waste decayed under the topsoil, a mixture of hydrogen sulfide and methane gases enveloped the town during the winter. Washington Post, "A big stink erupts over landfills ringing Russia’s capital," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'topsoil.' 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 topsoil

1836, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near topsoil

top slicing


top smelt





Statistics for topsoil

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for topsoil

The first known use of topsoil was in 1836

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More Definitions for topsoil



English Language Learners Definition of topsoil

: the upper layer of soil in which plants have most of their roots


top·​soil | \ ˈtäp-ˌsȯil \

Kids Definition of topsoil

: the rich upper layer of soil in which plants have most of their roots

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More from Merriam-Webster on topsoil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with topsoil

Spanish Central: Translation of topsoil

Nglish: Translation of topsoil for Spanish Speakers

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