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Soil at varying depths.
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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English soile, soyle, sule (ground, earth), partly from Anglo-Norman soyl (bottom, ground, pavement), from Latin solium (seat, threshold, place), mistaken for Latin solum (ground, foundation, earth, sole of the foot); and partly from Old English sol (mud, mire, wet sand), from Proto-Germanic *sulą (mud, spot), from Proto-Indo-European *sūl- (thick liquid). Cognate with Middle Low German söle (dirt, mud), Middle Dutch sol (dirt, filth), Middle High German sol, söl (dirt, mud, mire), Danish søle (mud, muck). See also sole, soal.


soil (countable and uncountable, plural soils)

  1. (uncountable) A mixture of sand and organic material, used to support plant growth.
  2. (uncountable) The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants.
  3. (uncountable) The unconsolidated mineral or organic matter on the surface of the earth that has been subjected to and shows effects of genetic and environmental factors of: climate (including water and temperature effects), and macro- and microorganisms, conditioned by relief, acting on parent material over a period of time. A product-soil differs from the material from which it is derived in many physical, chemical, biological, and morphological properties and characteristics.
  4. Country or territory.
    The refugees returned to their native soil.
    Kenyan soil
  5. That which soils or pollutes; a stain.
    • Dryden
      A lady's honour [] will not bear a soil.
  6. A marshy or miry place to which a hunted boar resorts for refuge; hence, a wet place, stream, or tract of water, sought for by other game, as deer.
    • Marston
      As deer, being stuck, fly through many soils, / Yet still the shaft sticks fast.
  7. Dung; compost; manure.
    night soil
    • Mortimer
      Improve land by dung and other sort of soils.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English soilen, soulen, suylen (to sully, make dirty), partly from Old French soillier, souillier (to soil, make dirty, wallow in mire), from Old Frankish *sauljan, *sulljan (to make dirty, soil); partly from Old English solian, sylian (to soil, make dirty), from Proto-Germanic *sulwōną, *sulwijaną, *saulijaną (to soil, make dirty), from Proto-Indo-European *sūl- (thick liquid). Cognate with Old Saxon sulian (to soil, mire), Middle Dutch soluwen, seulewen (to soil, besmirch), Old High German solagōn, bisullen (to make dirty), German dialectal sühlen (to soil, make dirty), Danish søle (to make dirty, defile), Swedish söla (to soil, make dirty), Gothic 𐌱𐌹𐍃𐌰𐌿𐌻𐌾𐌰𐌽 (bisauljan, to bemire).


soil (third-person singular simple present soils, present participle soiling, simple past and past participle soiled)

  1. (transitive) To make dirty.
    • Milton
      Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained.
  2. (intransitive) To become dirty or soiled.
    Light colours soil sooner than dark ones.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To stain or mar, as with infamy or disgrace; to tarnish; to sully.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  4. (reflexive) To dirty one's clothing by accidentally defecating while clothed.
  5. To make invalid, to ruin.
  6. To enrich with soil or muck; to manure.
    • South
      Men [] soil their ground, not that they love the dirt, but that they expect a crop.
Derived termsEdit


soil (plural soils)

  1. (uncountable, euphemistic) Faeces or urine etc. when found on clothes.
  2. (countable, medicine) A bag containing soiled items.
  • (faeces or urine etc.): dirt

Etymology 3Edit

From Middle English soyl, from Old French soil, souil (quagmire, marsh), from Frankish *sōlja, *saulja (mire, miry place, wallow), from Proto-Germanic *sauljō (mud, puddle, feces), from Proto-Indo-European *sūl- (thick liquid). Cognate with Old English syle, sylu, sylen (miry place, wallow), Old High German sol, gisol (miry place), German Suhle (a wallow, mud pit, muddy pool).


soil (plural soils)

  1. A wet or marshy place in which a boar or other such game seeks refuge when hunted.

Etymology 4Edit

Old French saoler, saouler (to satiate).


soil (third-person singular simple present soils, present participle soiling, simple past and past participle soiled)

  1. To feed, as cattle or horses, in the barn or an enclosure, with fresh grass or green food cut for them, instead of sending them out to pasture; hence (such food having the effect of purging them), to purge by feeding on green food.
    to soil a horse

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for soil in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)





  1. bald

See alsoEdit



Cognate with Assamese চাউল (saul), Bengali চাল (cal), Hindi चावल (cāval)



  1. rice