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soil1

[soil] /sɔɪl/
noun
1.
the portion of the earth's surface consisting of disintegrated rock and humus.
2.
a particular kind of earth:
sandy soil.
3.
the ground as producing vegetation or as cultivated for its crops:
fertile soil.
4.
a country, land, or region:
an act committed on American soil.
5.
the ground or earth:
tilling the soil.
6.
any place or condition providing the opportunity for growth or development:
Some believe that poverty provides the soil for crime.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English soile < Anglo-French soyl < Latin solium seat, confused with solum ground
Related forms
soilless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for soilless

soil1

/sɔɪl/
noun
1.
the top layer of the land surface of the earth that is composed of disintegrated rock particles, humus, water, and air See zonal soil, azonal soil, intrazonal soil, horizon (sense 4), horizon (sense 5) related adjective telluric
2.
a type of this material having specific characteristics: loamy soil
3.
land, country, or region: one's native soil
4.
the soil, life and work on a farm; land: he belonged to the soil, as his forefathers had
5.
any place or thing encouraging growth or development
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-Norman, from Latin solium a seat, but confused with Latin solum the ground

soil2

/sɔɪl/
verb
1.
to make or become dirty or stained
2.
(transitive) to pollute with sin or disgrace; sully; defile: he soiled the family honour by his cowardice
noun
3.
the state or result of soiling
4.
refuse, manure, or excrement
Word Origin
C13: from Old French soillier to defile, from soil pigsty, probably from Latin sūs a swine

soil3

/sɔɪl/
verb
1.
(transitive) to feed (livestock) freshly cut green fodder either to fatten or purge them
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from obsolete vb (C16) soil to manure, from soil² (n)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for soilless

soil

v.

early 13c., "to defile or pollute with sin," from Old French soillier "to splatter with mud, to foul or make dirty," originally "to wallow" (12c., Modern French souillier), from souil "tub, wild boar's wallow, pigsty," which is from either Latin solium "tub for bathing; seat," or Latin suculus "little pig," from sus "pig." Literal meaning "to make dirty, begrime" is attested from c.1300 in English. Related: Soiled; soiling.

n.

c.1300, originally "land, area, place," from Anglo-French soil "piece of ground, place" (13c.), from an merger or confusion of Old French sol "bottom, ground, soil" (12c., from Latin solum "soil, ground;" see sole (n.1)), Old French soeul, sueil "threshold, area, place" (from Latin solium "seat"), and Old French soil, soille "a miry place," from soillier (see soil (v.)).

Meaning "place of one's nativity" is from c.1400. Meaning "mould, earth, dirt" (especially that which plants grow in) is attested from mid-15c.

"filth, dirt, refuse matter, sewage, liquid likely to contain excrement," c.1600, earlier "miry or muddy place" (early 15c.), from Old French soille "miry place," from soillier (v.) "to make dirty," and in part a native formation from soil (v.). This is the sense in archaic night-soil.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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soilless in Science
soil
  (soil)   
The loose top layer of the Earth's surface, consisting of rock and mineral particles mixed with decayed organic matter (humus), and capable of retaining water, providing nutrients for plants, and supporting a wide range of biotic communities. Soil is formed by a combination of depositional, chemical, and biological processes and plays an important role in the carbon, nitrogen, and hydrologic cycles. Soil types vary widely from one region to another, depending on the type of bedrock they overlie and the climate in which they form. In wet and humid regions, for example, soils tend to be thicker than they do in dry regions. See more at A horizon, B horizon, C horizon., See illustration at ABC soil.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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soilless in Culture

soil definition


Material on the surface of the Earth on which plants can grow. (See topsoil.)

Note: Soil is produced by the weathering of rocks.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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