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A very black topsoil, rich in humus, typical of cool to temperate semiarid regions such as the grasslands of Ukraine and southern Russia.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Geological Science) a black soil, rich in humus and carbonates, in cool or temperate semiarid regions, as the grasslands of Russia
[from Russian, contraction of chernaya zemlya black earth]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
cher•no•zem(ˈtʃɜr nəˌzɛm, ˈtʃɛər-)
a soil common in cool or temperate semiarid climates, black and rich in humus and carbonates.
[1835–45; < Russian <chërn(yĭ) black + zemlyá earth]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.