Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A horizontal layer of material, especially one of several parallel layers arranged one on top of another.
  • noun Geology A bed or layer of sedimentary rock that is visually distinguishable from adjacent beds or layers.
  • noun Any of the regions of the atmosphere, such as the troposphere, that occur as layers.
  • noun Biology A layer of tissue.
  • noun A level of society composed of people with similar social, cultural, or economic status.
  • noun One of a number of layers, levels, or divisions in an organized system.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In archæol. excavations, one of the layers of deposits left by successive civilizations, as in the overlying cities at Hissarlik, the ancient Troy.
  • noun A layer of material, formed either naturally or artificially.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Geol.) A bed of earth or rock of one kind, formed by natural causes, and consisting usually of a series of layers, which form a rock as it lies between beds of other kinds. Also used figuratively.
  • noun A bed or layer artificially made; a course.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun One of several parallel horizontal layers of material arranged one on top of another.
  • noun geology A layer of sedimentary rock having approximately the same composition throughout.
  • noun Any of the regions of the atmosphere, such as the stratosphere, that occur as layers.
  • noun biology A layer of tissue.
  • noun A class of society composed of people with similar social, cultural, or economic status.
  • noun ecology A layer of vegetation, usually of similar height.

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

  • noun one of several parallel layers of material arranged one on top of another (such as a layer of tissue or cells in an organism or a layer of sedimentary rock)
  • noun people having the same social, economic, or educational status
  • noun an abstract place usually conceived as having depth

Etymologies

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

[Latin strātum, a covering, from neuter past participle of sternere, to spread; see stratus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin strātum ("a spread for a bed, coverlet, quilt, blanket; a pillow, bolster; a bed"), neuter singular of strātus, perfect passive participle of sternō ("spread").

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