Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A brown or black organic substance consisting of partially or wholly decayed vegetable or animal matter that provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.
  • n. Variant of hummus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large group of natural organic compounds, found in the soil, formed from the chemical and biological decomposition of plant and animal residues and from the synthetic activity of microorganisms
  • n. An alternative spelling of hummus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That portion of the soil formed by the decomposition of animal or vegetable matter. It is a valuable constituent of soils.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Vegetable mold.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. partially decomposed organic matter; the organic component of soil
  • n. a thick spread made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic; used especially as a dip for pita; originated in the Middle East

Etymologies

Latin, soil; see dhghem- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin humus. (Wiktionary)
Turkish humus or Arabic hummus (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word "humiliation" is rooted in the Latin word humus, which means "dirt."

    Surviving the Age of Humiliation

  • The humus from the forests brought down to the sea through a number of rivers is absorbed as one of the main sources of food, both by the fish population in the rivers as well as the sea.

    K. P. Sasi: Fishing Communities and Politics of Climate Change in India

  • If served at home ketchup, date-tamarind chutney or humus is an ideal dip to accompany.

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • Now that our population has more than 10 % North Africans we also use the peas in humus, couscous etc ...

    What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

  • The terms humus and organic matter are somewhat interchangeable.

    GREENIE WATCH

  • It all begins with topsoil and something called humus (not the kind you eat with pita).

    Natalia Rose: Manifest Destiny: Our Land, Our Bodies

  • There they are mixed with organic matter called humus, which results from the decomposition of the waste and dead tissue of organisms.

    AP Environmental Science Chapter 11- Soils

  • During this stage, particles of the decomposed items slowly turn into humus, which is the most important part of the compost manure.

    Chapter 8

  • The organic matter exists in the form of a substance called humus, which must be considered here as a source of the organic constituents of plants, independently of the general composition of the soil, which will be afterwards discussed.

    Elements of Agricultural Chemistry

  • The roots and other vegetable debris remaining in the soil undergo a similar series of changes, and form the humus, which is found only in the surface soil, that is to say, in the portion which is now or has at some previous period been occupied by plants, and the quantity of humus contained in any soil is mainly dependent on the activity of vegetation on it.

    Elements of Agricultural Chemistry

Comments

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  • I come with pita bread to save you.

    July 19, 2008

  • The humus stood dark and heavy over them once; the plow was its doom. Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008