1. a thickness of some material laid on or spread over a surface: a layer of soot on the window sill; two layers of paint.
  2. bed; stratum: alternating layers of basalt and sandstone.
  3. a person or thing that lays: a carpet layer.
  4. a hen kept for egg production.
  5. one of several items of clothing worn one on top of the other.
  6. Horticulture.
    1. a shoot or twig that is induced to root while still attached to the living stock, as by bending and covering with soil.
    2. a plant so propagated.
  7. Ropemaking. a machine for laying rope or cable.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make a layer of.
  2. to form or arrange in layers.
  3. to arrange or wear (clothing) in layers: You can layer this vest over a blouse or sweater.
  4. Horticulture. to propagate by layering.

verb (used without object)

  1. to separate into or form layers.
  2. (of a garment) to permit of wearing in layers; be used in layering: Frilly blouses don’t layer well.


  1. a thickness of some homogeneous substance, such as a stratum or a coating on a surface
  2. one of four or more levels of vegetation defined in ecological studies: the ground or moss layer, the field or herb layer, the shrub layer, and one or more tree layers
  3. a laying hen
  4. horticulture
    1. a shoot or branch rooted during layering
    2. a plant produced as a result of layering


  1. to form or make a layer of (something)
  2. to take root or cause to take root by layering

v.1832, from layer (n.). Related: Layered; layering. n.late 14c., “one who or that lays” (especially stones, “a mason”), agent noun from lay (v.). Passive sense of “that which is laid over a surface” first recorded 1610s, but because earliest English use was in cookery, this is perhaps from French liue “binding,” used of a thickened sauce. Layer cake attested from 1881. n.

  1. A single thickness of a material covering a surface or forming an overlying part or segment.


  1. To divide or form into layers.
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