Main definitions of soil in English

: soil1soil2soil3

soil1

noun

  • 1[mass noun] The upper layer of earth in which plants grow, a black or dark brown material typically consisting of a mixture of organic remains, clay, and rock particles.

    ‘blueberries need very acid soil’
    [count noun] ‘rotary cultivators are ideal, particularly on difficult soils’
    • ‘Plants were grown in soil and given full nutrition and irrigation throughout.’
    • ‘The land is clearly farm country this morning - fields worked smooth, crops sprouted, sun on black soil and green plant.’
    • ‘Camellias like acid soil so plant in a clay pot filled with ericaceous compost.’
    • ‘Aspergillus fumigatus is a common fungus that grows on soil, plant debris and rotting vegetation in the autumn and winter.’
    • ‘The age of a find is usually estimated by dating the layers of rock or soil above and below it, most commonly lava fields in Japan.’
    • ‘The Kirkland silt loam soil at the wheat pasture research unit is typical of much of the cropland in north central Oklahoma.’
    • ‘A restriction in leaf elongation in plants growing in drying soil is a well-reported phenomenon.’
    • ‘The white syringa prefers sandy or alluvial soils while the mountain syringa grows more readily in a clay loam soil.’
    • ‘When the play area was first provided it was in a terrible state with bare clay soil and loose rocks littering the ground.’
    • ‘In heavy clay soils, plant the rhizomes so the upper bud is no more than 1 to 2 inches below the surface.’
    • ‘A number of sand martins currently nest in the upper layer of soil on the cliff at Glengad.’
    • ‘Sick plants or plants grown in contaminated soil may have altered chemistries.’
    • ‘This drainage system is made up of a lower layer of rough, nonporous material and an upper layer of porous soil and sand.’
    • ‘Plants were grown in soil in a growth chamber and watered daily.’
    • ‘Instead, farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops.’
    • ‘Water only helps the chemical reactions take place, but a plant still needs healthy soil in which to grow.’
    • ‘Bacteria and insects break down organic material to produce soil and nutrients so plants can grow.’
    • ‘Many soils have a topsoil layer that is more permeable than the clay subsoil.’
    • ‘Red soil and sandy loam were most suitable for plant cultivation, compared to clay soil or clay loam soil.’
    • ‘All sites showed indications of soil slumping, and the loam to silt loam soil was derived from glacial till.’
    earth, loam, sod, ground, dirt, clay, turf, topsoil, mould, humus, marl, dust
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The territory of a particular nation.
      ‘the stationing of US troops on Japanese soil’
      • ‘Foreign troops on their soil against their will is deeply familiar.’
      • ‘This is officially the last article I will write until I am on another continent's soil.’
      • ‘As we went to press last night, some of the many acts set to entertain the masses this weekend, were already landing on Irish soil.’
      • ‘The Greens also opposed both the construction of nuclear power stations and the stationing of nuclear weapons on German soil.’
      • ‘Nestling around the ruins of the abbey where Mary Queen of Scots spent her last night on Scottish soil, the village of Dundrennan is a picture postcard of tranquillity.’
      • ‘Yet somehow or other she got herself to Holland, then made several cross-channel ferry trips until finally being allowed to land on British soil just as war broke out.’
      • ‘Opposition politicians say the mission violates a constitutional clause which restricts foreign combat troops on sovereign soil.’
      • ‘Such sentiments carried the day even when British troops invaded American soil two decades later.’
      • ‘I am delighted to see that our games are going to get exposure on foreign soils, in places like Rome, for example, with the Railway Cup hurling final.’
      • ‘During his first visit here in February 1986, he bowed and kissed the soil as a mark of respect to the land of spirituality.’
      • ‘Exploits on foreign soils seem a far cry from everyday life in Carlow town but that is what several men and women must put to the back of their minds everyday.’
      • ‘With external enemies on its soils, internal opponents were dealt with harshly.’
      • ‘If Britain is successful in their Olympic bid it will be 2012 before the British public has the chance to witness an Olympic medal ceremony on home soil - so why waste this chance?’
      • ‘RAF Elvington became quite literally a French enclave, a foreign territory on Yorkshire soil and the only one of its kind in Britain.’
      • ‘And the right of FEMA or any branch of the federal government for that matter to issue such a ban on American soil seems highly dubious to me.’
      • ‘England had not tasted defeat in the Five / Six nations championship on home soil since 1997.’
      • ‘This, in effect, brings into replay the colonial practice of extra-territoriality enjoyed by colonisers and adventurers on foreign soils.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, perhaps representing Latin solium seat, by association with solum ground.

Pronunciation:

soil

/sɔɪl/

Main definitions of soil in English

: soil1soil2soil3

soil2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Make dirty.

    ‘he might soil his expensive suit’
    ‘a soiled T-shirt’
    • ‘His clothes were soiled and torn, his face was dirty and dried blood crusted around several scratches he had received.’
    • ‘In New Delhi, India, it is smog that hangs over the city, pollution that literally soils everything it touches and makes many people sick.’
    • ‘Two professional cleaners had been sent to the property to clean the blackened cream carpet, soiled by wild parties, but with little success.’
    • ‘Public property is sometimes damaged and soiled, public sensibilities are usually trampled.’
    • ‘His orange suit was soiled by slimy machine oil, but he didn't mind the mess.’
    • ‘She just blots the soiled carpets with some paper towels.’
    • ‘She kicked her feet onto the desk, soiling his pristine papers with her muddy boots with the thick, tar-like muck, glad her train of thought was redirected.’
    • ‘Some taxis are dusty and oily on the inside, soiling passengers' clothes.’
    • ‘The mud splattered over him again, soiling his clothes even more.’
    • ‘Dirt smeared her face and soiled her hair; she had always been beautiful and confident and cheerful, how could someone do this to her?’
    • ‘DNA tests can be soiled, fingerprints smudged, and so on.’
    • ‘The shop owner claimed that the cloak was soiled with red wine and food stains, and that the train of the cloak had been damaged by a stiletto heel.’
    • ‘Mom was busily cooking, but of course, Muriel couldn't bring herself to soil her hands.’
    • ‘The letters were later delivered to the homes in Livingstone Road with a note from the Royal Mail's Bradford North delivery manager, David Gavin, explaining why the envelopes were soiled.’
    • ‘The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way.’
    • ‘The woman went back into her bedroom and slipped into an old pair of tattered jeans and soiled t-shirt from off the floor and plucked the blue contacts out from her eyes, replacing them with glasses.’
    • ‘If the envelope is dirty, soiled with ink smudges and addressed with nearly indecipherable writing, would you take the time to open it and find out what's inside?’
    • ‘He waited for the door to close before taking off in a mad sprint, dropping all of his sketchbooks as he ran, muddy shoes soiling the pages, tearing them.’
    • ‘This weekend, the ‘black tide’ of oil spilled by the Prestige last week before it was towed out to sea was still soiling a 240-mile stretch of coast in the north-west Galicia region.’
    • ‘That means the town centre is soiled with around 200,000 sticky stains.’
    dirty, get dirty, make dirty, get filthy, make filthy, blacken, grime, begrime, stain, muddy, splash, spot, spatter, splatter, smear, smudge, sully, spoil, defile, pollute, contaminate, foul, befoul
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Make dirty by defecating in or on.
      • ‘Pity the next poor fool to pass through that spot, they're probably going to soil their pants.’
      • ‘The Tidy Towns committee are appealing to dog owners to keep their dogs from soiling the village.’
      • ‘Does this mean that dogs will have to be kept on leads on Woodstown beach and that their owners will be fined if they do not bring their pooper scooper with them and use it whenever their mutt soils the beach?’
      • ‘Eventually, you become a beloved puppy that is always forgiven for soiling the carpet.’
      • ‘At this point if I were her, I'd be soiling my pants for giving these egomaniacs 7 million dollars, or some fraction thereof.’
      • ‘His face was dirty and streaked from tears and his pants were soiled.’
      • ‘Both girls have displayed other troubling behaviour since arriving in care, including: H.T. ducking her head when chastised, both girls soiling their underpants and smearing feces when upset.’
      • ‘If you're that worried about soiling your khakis - really, heaven forbid you should soil your precious khakis - wear Depends under your Dockers.’
      • ‘The day I met him, his dirty t-shirt and soiled pants revealed that he was living on the streets.’
      • ‘Be a responsible pet owner and keep your parrot from damaging or soiling the room in any way.’
      • ‘But, by the same token, could a monkey be blamed for throwing around his own feces, or a fish blamed for soiling his water?’
      • ‘That said, this is a Disney movie and probably not supposed to have kids soiling their diapers in terror.’
      • ‘Still, Akiko wrinkles her nose as the instructor describes a 95-year-old patient who soils her futon.’
      • ‘In one study, 63 percent of children with constipation and soiling had painful defecation that began before three years of age.’
      • ‘You never see a man fall off a roof and spearing himself on a railing, or a kid getting eaten by an alligator, or an old lady soiling herself at a wedding.’
      • ‘Most authors don't need clips, but now I'm in the position of having to prove that I'm not covered with boils and unable to speak without bursting into sweat and soiling myself.’
      • ‘These strategies take into account the Shih Tzu's reluctance to soil the spots where he eats and sleeps.’
      • ‘If an old person soils the bed, the carer may not be able to bear to deal with it, so they will just leave the person in that dreadful state until the home help arrives, and then pretend it has only just happened.’
    2. 1.2Bring discredit to; tarnish.
      ‘what good is there in soiling your daughter's reputation?’
      • ‘Despite being destined from the early stages to win at a canter, they spoiled and soiled their display with a series of other cynical acts.’
      • ‘Or was he, as some have claimed, indulging in the kind of win-at-all-costs cheating that is increasingly soiling the Beautiful Game?’
      • ‘No living politician can match his talent for soiling himself in public.’
      • ‘The opening scene is an interview - about the wretchedness of conditions in the theatre, poking fun at the cumbersome bureaucracy which soils it.’
      • ‘The bad news for his rivals, however, is that protest candidates have proved very effective at indelibly soiling whatever image the party is trying to convey at the moment.’
      • ‘When you return the advances, they act as if you're soiled and spoiled.’

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Waste matter, especially sewage containing excrement.

    See also night soil
    • ‘The tube was filled with a nasty sludge of soil, litter and water.’
    • ‘Railways were built for access and for the removal of waste soil.’
    • ‘He can then charge the companies per truckload of waste soil.’
    • ‘Only when the specialists had cleared an area were general contractors allowed to dig deeper and take waste soil to Oldham.’
    • ‘Hazardous waste includes contaminated soil, paint, solvent residues, asbestos and highly acidic and alkaline solids.’
    • ‘Avoid handling cat litter or soil; they can contain a parasite that causes an infection called toxoplasmosis.’
    • ‘Wounds contaminated with barnyard soil, sewage, or colon contents need special care.’
    • ‘Purton already has a domestic recycling unit and an industrial waste site that accepts contaminated soil.’
    • ‘The enormous pile of soil and waste below the terrace has now been there for two years as well, with no signs of any effort to clear up the mess.’
    • ‘Work is proceeding on clearing the open space in Oakridge Road used by the contractors to dump soil and waste during the building work.’
    • ‘The company is also considering removing the waste and surrounding contaminated soil.’
    • ‘These handle rubbish including rubble and soil, metals and ‘white goods’ such as fridges and cookers, car batteries and motor oil.’
    1. 1.1archaic [count noun]A stain or discolouring mark.

Origin

Middle English (as a verb): from Old French soiller, based on Latin sucula, diminutive of sus pig. The earliest use of the noun ( late Middle English) was ‘muddy wallow for wild boar’; current noun senses date from the early 16th century.

Pronunciation:

soil

/sɔɪl/

Main definitions of soil in English

: soil1soil2soil3

soil3

verb

[WITH OBJECT]rare
  • Feed (cattle) on fresh-cut green fodder (originally for the purpose of purging them).

    • ‘But, wherever these vigorous plants can be grown successfully, it is easy to obtain from them large quantities of fodder, both for soiling cattle in summer and for making hay against the winter's need, and this at comparatively small cost for labor and manure.’
    • ‘Indian corn makes an exceedingly valuable fodder, both as a means of carrying a herd of milch cows through our severe droughts of summer, and as an article for soiling cows kept in the stall.’

Origin

Early 17th century: perhaps from soil.

Pronunciation:

soil

/sɔɪl/