Definition of layer in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlāər/


1A sheet, quantity, or thickness of material, typically one of several, covering a surface or body: bears depend on a layer of blubber to keep them warm in the water figurative a larger missile would provide a layer of defense at higher altitudes
More example sentences
  • Like your eyelashes, so blond they were only noticeable when you blinked and the top row met the bottom in a layer of double thickness.
  • Depending on various factors, you might need to place a layer of base material on top of the subgrade.
  • Once the desired quantity of trees had been installed, a layer of geotextile material was deposited on top to keep contaminants out of the stream.
coating, sheet, coat, film, covering, blanket, skin, thickness;
stratum, band
1.1A level of seniority in the hierarchy of an organization: a managerial layer
More example sentences
  • Many of these efforts focused on flattening the hierarchical structure or reducing the number of layers in the organization.
  • Keep the number of reporting layers within your organization to a minimum.
  • Now as boss, he invites discussion and says he is always trying to remove layers of hierarchy.
2 [in combination] A person or thing that lays something: the worms are prolific egg-layers
More example sentences
  • The actor is a former asphalt layer who is renowned in television circles for his singing voice.
3A shoot fastened down to take root while attached to the parent plant.


[with object] (often as adjective layered)
1Arrange in a layer or layers: the current trend for layered clothes
More example sentences
  • Check out the way I've layered the clothes on Dougie.
  • Pastilla is a layered pastry dish combining almonds and shredded meat.
  • Although I had allowed myself on more than one occasion to daydream and imagined myself in the lovely silk layered clothes of a lady.
1.1Cut (hair) in overlapping layers: her layered, shoulder-length hair
More example sentences
  • Ashlee's hair is layered to just below her shoulders.
  • Find and inspect some pictures of people with curly, layered hair.
  • Her hair was perfectly layered and moved beautifully around her throughout the episode!
2Propagate (a plant) as a layer: a layered shoot
More example sentences
  • Rather than buying more plants, Eva propagates her own by layering.
  • To propagate, follow the same procedure as with red currants - take cuttings in late fall or early spring, or propagate by layering.
  • It is also propagated by layering, divisions and by seed which it sets in profusion.


Middle English (denoting a mason): from lay1 + -er1. The sense 'stratum of material covering a surface' (early 17th century) may represent a respelling of an obsolete agricultural use of lair1 denoting quality of soil.

Words that rhyme with layer

abaya, betrayer, conveyor, Eritrea, flayer, Freya, gainsayer, Malaya, Marbella, Maya, Mayer, Nouméa, obeyer, payer, player, portrayer, prayer, preyer, purveyor, slayer, sprayer, stayer, strayer, surveyor, waylayer, weigher

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lay·er

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