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soil 1 (soil)
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n.
1. The top layer of the earth's surface in which plants can grow, consisting of rock and mineral particles mixed with decayed organic matter and having the capability of retaining water.
2. A particular kind of earth or ground: sandy soil.
3. Country; land: native soil.
4. The agricultural life: a man of the soil.
5. A place or condition favorable to growth; a breeding ground.

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, a piece of ground (influenced in meaning by Latin solum, soil), from Latin solium, seat; see sed- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
soil 2 (soil)
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v. soiled, soil·ing, soils
v.tr.
1. To make dirty, particularly on the surface.
2. To disgrace; tarnish: a reputation soiled by scandal.
3. To corrupt; defile.
4. To dirty with excrement.
v.intr.
To become dirty, stained, or tarnished.
n.
1.
a. The state of being soiled.
b. A stain.
2. Filth, sewage, or refuse.
3. Manure, especially human excrement, used as fertilizer.

[Middle English soilen, from Old French souiller, from Vulgar Latin *suculāre (from Late Latin suculus, diminutive of Latin sūs, pig; see sū- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots) or from souil, wallow of a wild boar (from Latin solium, seat, bathtub; see SOIL1).]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
soil 3 (soil)
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tr.v. soiled, soil·ing, soils
To feed (livestock) with soilage.

[Origin unknown.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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