Main definitions of soil in English

: soil1soil2soil3

soil1

noun

  • 1The 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’
    figurative ‘the Garden State has provided fertile soil for the specialty beer market’
    • ‘This drainage system is made up of a lower layer of rough, nonporous material and an upper layer of porous soil and sand.’
    • ‘Camellias like acid soil so plant in a clay pot filled with ericaceous compost.’
    • ‘The Kirkland silt loam soil at the wheat pasture research unit is typical of much of the cropland in north central Oklahoma.’
    • ‘Aspergillus fumigatus is a common fungus that grows on soil, plant debris and rotting vegetation in the autumn and winter.’
    • ‘Plants were grown in soil in a growth chamber and watered daily.’
    • ‘Red soil and sandy loam were most suitable for plant cultivation, compared to clay soil or clay loam soil.’
    • ‘A number of sand martins currently nest in the upper layer of soil on the cliff at Glengad.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A restriction in leaf elongation in plants growing in drying soil is a well-reported phenomenon.’
    • ‘The land is clearly farm country this morning - fields worked smooth, crops sprouted, sun on black soil and green plant.’
    • ‘Many soils have a topsoil layer that is more permeable than the clay subsoil.’
    • ‘Plants were grown in soil and given full nutrition and irrigation throughout.’
    • ‘When the play area was first provided it was in a terrible state with bare clay soil and loose rocks littering the ground.’
    • ‘All sites showed indications of soil slumping, and the loam to silt loam soil was derived from glacial till.’
    • ‘The white syringa prefers sandy or alluvial soils while the mountain syringa grows more readily in a clay loam soil.’
    • ‘Sick plants or plants grown in contaminated soil may have altered chemistries.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In heavy clay soils, plant the rhizomes so the upper bud is no more than 1 to 2 inches below the surface.’
    • ‘Instead, farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops.’
    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 U.S. troops on Japanese soil’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘RAF Elvington became quite literally a French enclave, a foreign territory on Yorkshire soil and the only one of its kind in Britain.’
      • ‘The Greens also opposed both the construction of nuclear power stations and the stationing of nuclear weapons on German 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.’
      • ‘This, in effect, brings into replay the colonial practice of extra-territoriality enjoyed by colonisers and adventurers on foreign soils.’
      • ‘England had not tasted defeat in the Five / Six nations championship on home soil since 1997.’
      • ‘With external enemies on its soils, internal opponents were dealt with harshly.’
      • ‘Foreign troops on their soil against their will is deeply familiar.’
      • ‘During his first visit here in February 1986, he bowed and kissed the soil as a mark of respect to the land of spirituality.’
      • ‘This is officially the last article I will write until I am on another continent's 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.’
      • ‘Such sentiments carried the day even when British troops invaded American soil two decades later.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Opposition politicians say the mission violates a constitutional clause which restricts foreign combat troops on sovereign soil.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

soil

/soil/

Main definitions of soil in English

: soil1soil2soil3

soil2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Make dirty.

    ‘he might soil his expensive suit’
    ‘a soiled T-shirt’
    • ‘DNA tests can be soiled, fingerprints smudged, and so on.’
    • ‘Some taxis are dusty and oily on the inside, soiling passengers' clothes.’
    • ‘She just blots the soiled carpets with some paper towels.’
    • ‘In New Delhi, India, it is smog that hangs over the city, pollution that literally soils everything it touches and makes many people sick.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That means the town centre is soiled with around 200,000 sticky stains.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His orange suit was soiled by slimy machine oil, but he didn't mind the mess.’
    • ‘Two professional cleaners had been sent to the property to clean the blackened cream carpet, soiled by wild parties, but with little success.’
    • ‘His clothes were soiled and torn, his face was dirty and dried blood crusted around several scratches he had received.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dirt smeared her face and soiled her hair; she had always been beautiful and confident and cheerful, how could someone do this to her?’
    • ‘Public property is sometimes damaged and soiled, public sensibilities are usually trampled.’
    • ‘Mom was busily cooking, but of course, Muriel couldn't bring herself to soil her hands.’
    • ‘The mud splattered over him again, soiling his clothes even more.’
    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. 1.1(especially of a child, patient, or pet) make (something) dirty by defecating in or on it.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At this point if I were her, I'd be soiling my pants for giving these egomaniacs 7 million dollars, or some fraction thereof.’
      • ‘Still, Akiko wrinkles her nose as the instructor describes a 95-year-old patient who soils her futon.’
      • ‘That said, this is a Disney movie and probably not supposed to have kids soiling their diapers in terror.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘His face was dirty and streaked from tears and his pants were soiled.’
      • ‘Pity the next poor fool to pass through that spot, they're probably going to soil their pants.’
      • ‘In one study, 63 percent of children with constipation and soiling had painful defecation that began before three years of age.’
      • ‘Eventually, you become a beloved puppy that is always forgiven for soiling the carpet.’
      • ‘The Tidy Towns committee are appealing to dog owners to keep their dogs from soiling the village.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2Bring discredit to; tarnish.
      ‘what good is there in soiling your daughter's reputation?’
      • ‘The opening scene is an interview - about the wretchedness of conditions in the theatre, poking fun at the cumbersome bureaucracy which soils it.’
      • ‘When you return the advances, they act as if you're soiled and spoiled.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No living politician can match his talent for soiling himself in public.’
      • ‘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?’

noun

  • 1Waste matter, especially sewage containing excrement.

    See also night soil
    • ‘Hazardous waste includes contaminated soil, paint, solvent residues, asbestos and highly acidic and alkaline solids.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Wounds contaminated with barnyard soil, sewage, or colon contents need special care.’
    • ‘Only when the specialists had cleared an area were general contractors allowed to dig deeper and take waste soil to Oldham.’
    • ‘Railways were built for access and for the removal of waste soil.’
    • ‘Avoid handling cat litter or soil; they can contain a parasite that causes an infection called toxoplasmosis.’
    • ‘The company is also considering removing the waste and surrounding contaminated soil.’
    • ‘Purton already has a domestic recycling unit and an industrial waste site that accepts contaminated soil.’
    • ‘Work is proceeding on clearing the open space in Oakridge Road used by the contractors to dump soil and waste during the building work.’
    • ‘He can then charge the companies per truckload of waste soil.’
    • ‘The tube was filled with a nasty sludge of soil, litter and water.’
    • ‘These handle rubbish including rubble and soil, metals and ‘white goods’ such as fridges and cookers, car batteries and motor oil.’
    1. 1.1archaic A stain or discoloring 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

/soil/

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)

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

Early 17th century: perhaps from soil.

Pronunciation:

soil

/soil/