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grass·​roots ˈgras-ˌrüts How to pronounce grassroots (audio)
variants or less commonly grassroot
ˈgras-ˌrüt How to pronounce grassroots (audio)
: basic, fundamental
the grassroots factor in deciding to buy a house
: being, originating, or operating in or at the grass roots
a grassroots organization
grassroots political support
: not adapted from or added to an existing facility or operation : totally new
a grassroots refinery

grass roots

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plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: the very foundation or source
You must attack the problem at the grass roots.
: the basic level of society or of an organization especially as viewed in relation to higher or more centralized positions of power
was losing touch with the party's grass roots

Examples of grassroots in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The caucus is also recommending that the Sen. Frederick Malkus Memorial Bridge — which overlooks the Choptank River in Dorchester County, Maryland — be renamed after Gloria Richardson, the first woman in the U.S. to lead a grassroots civil rights organization outside of the Deep South. Emi Tuyetnhi Tran, NBC News, 10 Apr. 2024 The grassroots organization is led by parents who have navigated the special education system themselves and can offer support, information and training as needed. Nick Sullivan, The Arizona Republic, 5 Apr. 2024 The foundation provides funds to grassroots organizations working in communities where In-N-Out does business. Fielding Buck, Orange County Register, 25 Feb. 2024 Sawyers did outline some of the pros of the different format – such as removing fouls and potentially producing bigger jumps – alongside the cons – a difficulty of replicating the format at grassroots level and removing the skill of timing your run up to jump from the board. George Ramsay, CNN, 21 Feb. 2024 But the data suggesting connections have been enough to spark many grassroots efforts at integration. Lola Butcher, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2024 In the past year, grassroots organizations like Smartphone Free Childhood have risen to national prominence as parents fret about the damage that screens and social media might be causing to young people’s mental health. Matt Reynolds, WIRED, 29 Mar. 2024 Noise for Now seeks to connect artists with grassroots organizations across the country that work in the field of reproductive justice in order to uplift and financially support them. Eric Torres, Pitchfork, 26 Mar. 2024 Noise For Now, which began in 2017, was initially founded to stage benefit concerts as well as connect artists with grassroots organizations that work in the reproductive justice field. Steven J. Horowitz, Variety, 26 Mar. 2024
Albin, originally from West Hartford, had the most grass roots beginnings in the business. Pamela McLoughlin, Hartford Courant, 9 Jan. 2024 More about Jack Healy Miriam Jordan reports from a grass roots perspective on immigrants and their impact on the demographics, society and economy of the United States. Miriam Jordan Rebecca Noble, New York Times, 10 Dec. 2023 Grass leaves grow much more slowly as the weather turns cool, but the grass roots and rhizomes continue to grow quickly. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 22 Aug. 2023 Achieving chart success with savvy grass roots support was the ultimate repudiation of mainstream gatekeepers, Mr. MacDonald said. Marc Tracy, New York Times, 21 Aug. 2023 Another part of the growth plan is more grass roots, which Mehta said will take time. Schuyler Dixon,, 20 July 2023 Sure, that’s part of it at its grass roots belch-iest. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 July 2023 But now a grass roots team of staff at Arecibo, together with telescope users, have other ideas. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 25 May 2023 Those who attended on a cold and drizzly evening said Mr. DeSantis would pay a price with the party’s grass roots for challenging the former president. Nicholas Nehamas, New York Times, 6 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grassroots.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



see grass entry 1

First Known Use


1912, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1899, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of grassroots was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near grassroots

grass rooter


grass roots

Cite this Entry

“Grassroots.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

grass roots

noun plural
: society at the local and popular level especially in areas away from political or cultural centers

More from Merriam-Webster on grassroots

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