[hyoo-muh s or, often, yoo-] /ˈhyu məs or, often, ˈyu-/

the dark organic material in soils, produced by the decomposition of vegetable or animal matter and essential to the fertility of the earth.
a dark brown or black colloidal mass of partially decomposed organic matter in the soil. It improves the fertility and water retention of the soil and is therefore important for plant growth

1796, from Latin humus “earth, soil,” probably from humi “on the ground,” from PIE *dhghem- “earth” (cf. Latin humilis “low;” see chthonic). Related: Humous (adj.).
A dark-brown or black organic substance made up of decayed plant or animal matter. Humus provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.


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