cher·no·zem (chĕrnə-zĕm′, chîr′nə-zyôm)
A very black topsoil, rich in humus, typical of cool to temperate semiarid regions such as the grasslands of Ukraine and southern Russia.
[Russian chernozëm : chërnyĭ, black + Old Russian zemĭ, earth; see dhghem- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.