1 [soil]
the portion of the earth's surface consisting of disintegrated rock and humus.
a particular kind of earth: sandy soil.
the ground as producing vegetation or as cultivated for its crops: fertile soil.
a country, land, or region: an act committed on American soil.
the ground or earth: tilling the soil.
any place or condition providing the opportunity for growth or development: Some believe that poverty provides the soil for crime.

1300–50; Middle English soile < Anglo-French soyl < Latin solium seat, confused with solum ground

soilless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
soil1 (sɔɪl)
1.  zonal soil azonal soil intrazonal soil horizon See horizon the top layer of the land surface of the earth that is composed of disintegrated rock particles, humus, water, and airRelated: 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
Related: telluric
[C14: from Anglo-Norman, from Latin solium a seat, but confused with Latin solum the ground]

soil2 (sɔɪl)
1.  to make or become dirty or stained
2.  (tr) to pollute with sin or disgrace; sully; defile: he soiled the family honour by his cowardice
3.  the state or result of soiling
4.  refuse, manure, or excrement
[C13: from Old French soillier to defile, from soil pigsty, probably from Latin sūs a swine]

soil3 (sɔɪl)
(tr) to feed (livestock) freshly cut green fodder either to fatten or purge them
[C17: perhaps from obsolete vb (C16) soil to manure, from soil² (n)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

early 13c., "to defile or pollute with sin," from O.Fr. souillier "to foul or make dirty," originally "to wallow," from souil "tub, wild boar's wallow, pigsty," either from L. solium "tub for bathing, seat," or from L. suculus "little pig," from sus "pig." Meaning "to make dirty, begrime" is attested
from c.1300. This is the sense of the noun in archaic night-soil.

"the earth or ground," c.1300, from Anglo-Fr. soil "piece of ground, place" (13c.), from L. solium "seat," meaning confused with that of L. solum "soil, ground." Meaning "mould, earth, dirt" (especially that which plants grow in) is attested from c.1440.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
soil  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (soil)  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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