1. a soil common in cool or temperate semiarid climates, very black and rich in humus and carbonates.


  1. a black soil, rich in humus and carbonates, in cool or temperate semiarid regions, as the grasslands of Russia

1842, from Russian chernozem, literally “black earth,” from chernyi “black,” from PIE *kers- “dark, dirty” (see Krishna) + zemlya “earth, soil,” from Old Russian zemi “land, earth,” from PIE *dhghem- “earth” (see chthonic).

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