AskDefine | Define manure

Dictionary Definition

manure n : any animal or plant material used to fertilize land especially animal excreta usually with litter material v : spread manure, as for fertilization [syn: muck]

User Contributed Dictionary



From manuren, from manovrer (whence also English maneuver), from vulgar Latin *manuoperare "work by hand", from manus + operari.


  • Hyphenation: ma·nure
  • Rhymes: -uːr


  1. To cultivate by manual labor; to till; hence, to develop by culture.
  2. to apply manure (as fertilizer or soil improver)


Cultivate by manual labor
Apply manure

Related terms


  1. Animal excrement, especially that of common domestic farm animals and when used as fertilizer. Generally speaking, from cows, horses, pigs and chickens.



Related terms

Extensive Definition

Manure is organic matter used as fertilizer in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen that is trapped by bacteria in the soil. Higher organisms then feed on the fungi and bacteria in a chain of life that comprises the soil food web.
The term "manure" was used for inorganic fertilizers in the past, but this usage is now very rare.


The word manure came from Middle English "manuren" meaning "to cultivate land," and initially from French "main-oeuvre" = "hand work" alluding to the work which involved manuring land.


There are two main classes of manures in soil management: green manures and animal manures. Compost is distinguished from manure in that it is the decomposed remnants of organic materials (which may, nevertheless, include manure).
Most animal manure is fecesexcrement of plant-eating mammals (herbivores) and poultry — or plant material (often straw) which has been used as bedding for animals and thus is heavily contaminated with their feces and urine.
Green manures are crops grown for the express purpose of plowing them under. In so doing, fertility is increased through the nutrients and organic matter that are returned to the soil. Leguminous crops, such as clover, also "fix" nitrogen through rhizobia bacteria in specialized nodes in the root structure.
Other types of plant matter used as manure or fertilizer include: the contents of the rumens of slaughtered ruminants; spent hops left over from making beer.

Uses of manure

Manure has been used for centuries as a fertilizer for farming, as it is rich in nitrogen and other nutrients which facilitate the growth of plants. Liquid manure from pig/hog operations is usually knifed (injected) directly into the soil to reduce the unpleasant odors. Manure from hogs and cattle is spread on fields using a Manure spreader. Due to the relatively lower level of proteins in grasses, which herbivores eat, cattle manure has a milder smell than the dung of carnivores — for example, elephant dung is practically odorless. However, due to the quantity of manure applied to fields, odor can be a problem in some agricultural regions. Poultry droppings are harmful to plants when fresh but after a period of composting are valuable fertilizers.


Further reading

manure in Aragonese: Fiemo
manure in Aymara: Q'awa wanu
manure in Czech: Chlévský hnůj
manure in Danish: Møg
manure in Pennsylvania German: Mischt
manure in German: Mist
manure in Spanish: Estiércol
manure in Esperanto: Stala sterko
manure in French: Fumier
manure in Hebrew: זבל
manure in Italian: Letame
manure in Lithuanian: Mėšlas
manure in Dutch: Mest
manure in Norwegian: Møkk
manure in Polish: Obornik
manure in Quechua: Wanu
manure in Russian: Навоз
manure in Swedish: Naturgödsel
manure in Tamil: இயற்கை உரம்
manure in Vietnamese: Phân hữu cơ
manure in Venetian: Leame
manure in Chinese: 堆肥

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

BM, ammonia, bowel movement, buffalo chips, ca-ca, castor-bean meal, commercial fertilizer, compost, coprolite, coprolith, cow chips, cow flops, cow pats, crap, defecation, dingleberry, dressing, droppings, dung, enrichener, feces, feculence, fertilizer, guano, jakes, movement, muck, night soil, nitrate, nitrogen, ordure, organic fertilizer, phosphate, sewage, sewerage, shit, stool, superphosphate, turd
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