grass·​roots | \ ˈgras-ˌrüts How to pronounce grassroots (audio) , -ˌru̇ts\
variants: or less commonly grassroot \ ˈgras-​ˌrüt How to pronounce grassroot (audio) , -​ˌru̇t \

Definition of grassroots

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : basic, fundamental the grassroots factor in deciding to buy a house
2 : being, originating, or operating in or at the grass roots a grassroots organization grassroots political support
3 : not adapted from or added to an existing facility or operation : totally new a grassroots refinery

Definition of grass roots (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the very foundation or source You must attack the problem at the grass roots.
2 : 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: Adjective One of the lessons of my years as a young member of Congress was that although change can sometimes come from the top, most often the biggest changes start at the grassroots level. Al Gore, Time, "Al Gore: Youth Activists Are Demanding Action Against Climate Change. It’s Time For Us to Listen," 12 Sep. 2019 Out of the spotlight , a number of progressive groups have taken up the cause at the grassroots level. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Grassroots Battle to Save Democracy," 5 Sep. 2019 Or do the flaws in Colorado’s organization begin at the grassroots level, where minor-league stars seem few and far between?. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Rockies Insider: Imagining the lineup for a Colorado media baseball team," 8 Aug. 2019 Beijing has had to invest even more deeply in its relationships with Pakistani, Turkish, and Gulf governments to the tune of billions, but there’s anecdotal evidence that its reputation is deteriorating at the grassroots level. Johann Chacko, Quartz India, "With Kashmir move, India risks losing the upper hand of a responsible, nuclear-armed democracy," 6 Aug. 2019 But there is one rule which is being introduced at grassroots level which could change football drastically., "5 Weird and Wonderful Laws From Other Sports That Should Be Implemented in Football," 31 July 2019 Juany Torres knows a thing or two about how to build a winning campaign at the grassroots level. Gilbert Garcia,, "Podcast: Where do Castro and O’Rourke go from here?," 30 July 2019 Those differences need to be handled at a grassroots level not from Sacramento. K.c. Alfred / The San Diego Union-tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Should Sacramento control short-term rentals, Airbnb in San Diego County?," 7 June 2019 FairVote Minnesota, a nonprofit grassroots organization, is allowing fairgoers to electronically rank vote State Fair foods for the ninth straight year. Zekriah Chaudhry, Twin Cities, "Annual State Fair food voting returns," 23 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction While Collins and McKeon rallied the grass roots, Supervisor William Blake led the fight from within City Hall. Gary Kamiya,, "Powerful forces wanted freeways all over SF. Here’s how they were stopped," 4 Oct. 2019 They are found an inch underground eating grass roots and creating brown spots in lawns. Real Estate, "Ask the Gardener: How to get rid of grubs for good," 1 Oct. 2019 More water over shorter periods of time doesn’t allow the water to get deep into the soil where the tree roots are and most of the water gets taken up by the grass roots. oregonlive, "Are drought conditions or boring insects killing trees in the Willamette Valley? Ask an expert," 27 Sep. 2019 That alone has made some of them targets, with a grass roots campaign of party members seeking to punish lawmakers not supportive of a no-deal Brexit. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, "Britain’s Conservatives Erupt Into Civil War as Unlikely Rebels Defy Boris Johnson," 3 Sep. 2019 Simmons’ hiring by HartBeat ends a lengthy transitional period for the esteemed grass roots company. Christopher Arnott,, "Hartbeat Ensemble names new artistic director," 19 Aug. 2019 Human rights groups said the arrests were meant to send a message: Reforms would come from the top, not from the grass roots. Claire Parker, Washington Post, "A jailed Saudi activist was told she would be released if she denied being tortured, her family says. She refused.," 14 Aug. 2019 Romer says large companies are more successful at the state level where legislators are less often confronted by grass roots city activists. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "See the complicated landscape of plastic bans in the U.S.," 15 Aug. 2019 And despite recent disappointing polls, Mr. Sanders is well-established as a grass roots force, continuing to command respect among plenty of progressive Democrats — but certainly not all — because of his 2016 campaign’s success. Lisa Lerer, New York Times, "Can Anyone Catch Joe Biden?," 9 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grassroots.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grassroots


1912, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction

1899, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for grassroots


see grass entry 1

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Statistics for grassroots

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for grassroots

The first known use of grassroots was in 1899

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More Definitions for grassroots

grass roots


English Language Learners Definition of grass roots

: the ordinary people in a society or organization : the people who do not have a lot of money and power

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More from Merriam-Webster on grassroots

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grassroots

Spanish Central: Translation of grassroots

Nglish: Translation of grassroots for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grassroots for Arabic Speakers

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