Definition of loam in US English:



  • 1A fertile soil of clay and sand containing humus.

    • ‘Most need full sun and fertile, well-drained sandy loam with a neutral pH and abundant organic matter.’
    • ‘As good a soil as any is one composed of garden loam, sand, and well-rotted (never new) cow manure in equal parts.’
    • ‘But for farmers intending to grow soyabeans, it advisable to grow the crop on clay loam and sandy loam, which are the best soils for the plant.’
    • ‘Fortunately, too, within forty miles we have a wide variety of soils and landscapes - sands, pines, loam, oaks, prairie.’
    • ‘Good soil structure is one that is equally balanced between sand, clay and loam.’
    • ‘A soil mixture composed of about 2 parts fertile loam, 1 part leaf mold or peat, and 1 part sand or perlite is recommended for growing African violets.’
    • ‘Lodes of ore and inches of fertile loam have little bearing on a nation's prosperity and influence anymore.’
    • ‘Most soils are a mixture of clay, sand, and loam.’
    • ‘The north side has some very good silty clay loam, while the southwest corner is very sandy.’
    • ‘The soil of all stands was a readily erodible silty or sandy loam underlain by a reddish sand and clay.’
    • ‘The soil is a silty clay loam with 3.1% organic matter.’
    • ‘This tough plant will grow in exposed or sheltered aspects and in acid, alkaline or neutral soil of chalk, clay, sand or loam as long as it doesn't get waterlogged.’
    • ‘Heavy loam and clay soils especially benefit from this treatment.’
    • ‘At eight sites the soil texture was loam or light clay.’
    • ‘The preferred soil is coarse to fine, preferably hard, compact clay or silty clay loam.’
    • ‘In the morning, Michael and I dumped five-gallon buckets full of compost, forest loam, sand, and leaf mold onto the root cellar's cold cement floor.’
    • ‘The soil is a silty clay loam and located in the Finger Lakes.’
    • ‘The species occurs on sand, clay and loam, among low open woodland and in shrubland.’
    • ‘Crabro advena nests in soils ranging from coarse sand and loamy fine sand to silty loam and gravelly loam.’
    • ‘They prefer well-drained soil - either fine sandy clay or heavy loam that is slightly acid to neutral - but will grow in almost any soil so long as it's not too wet or acidic.’
    earth, sod, ground, dirt, clay, turf, topsoil, mould, humus, marl, dust
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    1. 1.1Geology A soil with roughly equal proportions of sand, silt, and clay.
      • ‘The soil at the experimental site is a Butler silt loam (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic Abruptic Agriaquoll).’
      • ‘Camp Nelson and High Bridge were dry woodlands in silty clay on steep, south-facing, gorge slopes, but Scotts Grove was a mesie woodland on level silt loam.’
      • ‘Liddell silt loam is classified as a coarse-silty, siliceous, subactive, acid, thermic typic endoaquept.’
      • ‘It can be seen from Table 3 that TF values for agricultural plants are normally within the range of 0.001-1 for mineral soils with textures of loam or clay.’
      • ‘The Wellston series typically occurs on steep slopes with a shallow, acidic A horizon, while the Grantsburg silt loam typically occurs in long, narrow areas bordering or on ridgetops.’
      soil, topsoil, clay, silt, dirt, sod, clod, turf
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    2. 1.2 A paste of clay and water with sand, chopped straw, etc., used in making bricks and plastering walls.
      • ‘The walls of loam and natural stones are in the Tibetan building tradition, while the woodwork of the columns, facades and walls is Kashmiri.’
      • ‘Similarly, the 1904 workmen set molds of brick and loam around plaster casts.’


Old English lām ‘clay’, of West Germanic origin: related to Dutch leem and German Lehm, also to lime.