grass·​roots | \ ˈgras-ˌrüts How to pronounce grassroots (audio) , -ˌru̇ts \
variants: or less commonly grassroot \ ˈgras-​ˌrüt How to pronounce grassroots (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 That won’t change until a more diverse group of kids starts playing at the grassroots level. Carol Schram, Forbes, "Hockey Night In Canada Reaches Out To New Fans With Broadcasts In 7 Additional Languages," 15 Apr. 2021 There is a genuine desire for unity at a grassroots level—a new, federal democracy built by those who want the best for the more than 130 ethnic groups that make up Myanmar, and who have learned from past mistakes. Mimi Aye, Time, "Revolutions Are Built on Hope. That's Why I Believe Myanmar's Protesters Will Succeed," 8 Apr. 2021 The uproar gave rise to the country’s broadest grassroots movement since the civil rights era as supporters called for Minneapolis and other cities to defund and reform police departments and rethink violence prevention strategies. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "Chauvin trial: Why Minneapolis activists are looking beyond the verdict," 30 Mar. 2021 Obama also notes that the Tea Party was not a spontaneous, grassroots movement but had been constructed initially by Americans for Prosperity, an organization bankrolled by the Koch brothers. Darryl Pinckney, The New York Review of Books, "A Gift for the Long Game," 9 Mar. 2021 Districtwide, parents are also getting involved in the local chapter of Integrated Schools, a grassroots movement encouraging white or privileged parents to take an active role in integrating schools. Mara Klecker, Star Tribune, "Parent-led equity groups in Minneapolis aim to address racism in their own schools," 2 Mar. 2021 The Little Free Pantry is a grassroots movement led by neighbors who want to help neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity. cleveland, "Fudge to speak during temple Zoom Shabbat service; CH-UH Library has new board member; more: Press Run," 25 Dec. 2020 The immigrant-rights organizers who built a grassroots movement in Arizona. Meena Harris, Marie Claire, "How Do We Find Joy Again?," 7 Dec. 2020 The Birmingham area, thanks to a strong grassroots movement at the club level by the guys at BUSA, Vestavia Steamers and elsewhere, is now consistently producing elite soccer talent. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Is the future now for Chris Richards of the USMNT?," 17 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction But the grass roots is energized about election fraud, and the power of the state’s new voting law to help Republicans should not be discounted., "In rapidly changing Georgia, many Republicans remain obsessed with the last election," 24 Apr. 2021 Throughout the Trump years, the show was a mix of righteous anger and gallows humor, while also becoming a powerhouse for grass roots activism and fund-raising. New York Times, "8 Podcasts to Help Make Sense of Post-Trump America," 21 Apr. 2021 Kaeser will discuss how this came to be, speaking about how grass roots activists waged a fight to transform the city from a white suburb into an inclusive, diverse community. cleveland, "Play virtual trivia game May 2 and help raise funds for the Mandel JCC: Press Run," 9 Apr. 2021 The high turnout in the last election was due in large part to the vast network of grass roots organizations across the country deeply embedded in diverse communities, who registered and turned-out millions of people. NBC News, "Why women are 'critical' to Covid-19 vaccine distribution and acceptance," 6 Apr. 2021 The Rainbow Coalition notion really happened at the grass roots. Vinson Cunningham, Los Angeles Times, "The future of L.A. is here. Robin D.G. Kelley’s radical imagination shows us the way," 17 Mar. 2021 The urgency for federal action has mounted not just among Washington lobbyists and Democratic lawmakers, but grass roots groups that normally fight battles in state legislatures and city councils. New York Times, "For Voting Rights Advocates, a ‘Once in a Generation Moment’ Looms," 15 Mar. 2021 To assuage those fears, Riverside County enlisted grass roots organizations to reach out to farmworkers and reassure them. New York Times, "Thousands of Farmworkers Are Prioritized for the Coronavirus Vaccine," 1 Mar. 2021 Primary campaigns typically rely more heavily on expensive TV advertising than conventions, where grass roots ties are more important. Washington Post, "Judge tosses suit brought by Republican contender for Virginia governor," 19 Feb. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grassroots

Time Traveler for grassroots

Time Traveler

The first known use of grassroots was in 1899

See more words from the same year

Statistics for grassroots

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Grassroots.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on grassroots

Nglish: Translation of grassroots for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grassroots for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grassroots

What made you want to look up grassroots? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!