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sod house, soddie
A dwelling having thick walls of blocks cut from an upper layer of grassland (i.e., sod). Houses of this type were constructed quickly by early settlers in the Great Plains of the United States in areas where timber and stone were scarce, suitable clay was not available for making bricks in quantity, but good-quality sod was readily obtainable. Often, constructed partially underground, or built into the side of a hill to provide improved thermal insulation. The walls were usually plastered with clay to promote cleanliness and dryness within the structure, and to reduce or prevent insect infestation. Also see Plains cottage.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.