Definition of humus in English:



  • The organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms.

    • ‘There is a smell of humus and dirt and leaves and rain and nothing else.’
    • ‘The mulch keeps the soil moist, and as the lower layers decompose, they enrich the soil with humus.’
    • ‘But (as some might reply) we can add peat or humus to the soil as we till.’
    • ‘If grown in plenty of humus and leaf mould, rhododendron roots almost peel off the ground.’
    • ‘In sandy soils, humus acts like a sponge to catch and hold moisture.’
    • ‘The final product, humus or compost, looks and feels like fertile garden soil.’
    • ‘At first, layer grass clippings with a dash of leaves and twigs to create a concoction that turns into humus, the best plant food.’
    • ‘An all-purpose potting mix has composted bark, peat moss or peat humus added to loamy soil.’
    • ‘Since these species originated in a wooded habitat, they require a loose soil with sufficient humus.’
    • ‘Cabbages tolerate heavier soils well, so long as there is enough humus and fertiliser, as they are heavy feeders.’
    • ‘What's left is nutrient-rich organic matter, or humus, which can be used as a soil amendment.’
    • ‘In addition, continue to put out organic humus as you plant.’
    • ‘Lack of biological insect control necessitates using more pesticides, as lack of humus and plant litter necessitates using more chemical fertilizers.’
    • ‘The end point of decomposition is a largely inert organic material called humus.’
    • ‘Mature compost is a complex organic material that has been transformed into stable humus by microorganisms.’
    • ‘Their soil must contain sufficient humus and be rich in calcium, but the idea that cyclamens need a lot of moisture is a misconception.’
    • ‘Soil should contain a good mix of sand, clay, and humus.’
    • ‘If it's sandy or stiff with clay, dig in humus to improve water retention and aeration.’
    • ‘Incidentally, soil rich in organic humus will hold more water longer and be more drought-resistant.’
    • ‘Don't spurn organic fertilizers that are low in nutrients, because they're rich in organic matter that turns to valuable humus in the soil.’
    earth, loam, sod, ground, dirt, clay, turf, topsoil, mould, marl, dust
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Late 18th century: from Latin, ‘soil’.