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[top-soil] /ˈtɒpˌsɔɪl/
the fertile, upper part of the soil.
verb (used with object)
to cover (land) with topsoil.
Origin of topsoil
1860-65; top1 + soil1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for topsoil
  • Fill the drainage holes thus created with good-quality topsoil.
  • Quick renovation kept topsoil and runoff out of the creek that forms the house's rear property line.
  • Learn how to minimize topsoil loss and optimize water retention.
  • If its authors have identified these correctly, it fits in well with an overall picture showing loss of forests and topsoil.
  • McKay fruitlessly looked for cyanobacteria and organic molecules in the topsoil and underground.
  • The topsoil is relatively thin and was formed by weathering of the underlying bedrock.
  • Since prehistoric times, locals have scratched away the topsoil from these hills to expose the chalk underneath.
  • Villagers may be persuaded to build terraces to stop topsoil running off.
  • Heavy rainfall in the interior gives the river water its earthy colour, but inland logging eases its removal of the topsoil.
  • When it rains, and especially when there are cyclones, landslides bring topsoil down to the sea.
British Dictionary definitions for topsoil


the surface layer of soil
verb (transitive)
to spread topsoil on (land)
to remove the topsoil from (land)
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 topsoil

1836, from top (n.1) + soil (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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topsoil in Science
The upper portion of a soil, usually dark colored and rich in organic material. It is more or less equivalent to the upper portion of an A horizon in an ABC soil.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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topsoil in Culture

topsoil definition

The thin, rich layer of soil where most nutrients for plants are found.

Note: Most of the land-based biological activity of the Earth takes place here.
Note: The loss of topsoil through erosion is a major agricultural problem.
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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