grass·roots | \ ˈgras-ˌrüts , -ˌru̇ts \
variants: or less commonly grassroot \ˈgras-ˌrüt, -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

Saudi feminists have been campaigning for a lifting of the ban since 1990, confirming that there is plenty of grassroots support for the move. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "Driving Toward Change," 23 June 2018 In addition to these top-down interventions, grassroots efforts such as music play a crucial role in language revitalization. Adam Cohen, Smithsonian, "This Musician’s Songs Give Powerful Voice to a Language in Crisis," 3 July 2018 Many of her campaign workers were also new to the process, inspired by Trump to get involved through grassroots organizing efforts such as the Indivisible Project. Herb Jackson, USA TODAY, "How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won: Ultra-liberal pitch drew first-time voters in changing district," 27 June 2018 The villages are in more than 200 communities across the country and are part of a nonprofit, grassroots effort. Linda Mcintosh,, "Carlsbad Foundation gives 90K to fight homelessness," 25 June 2018 In addition to the grassroots efforts, Estrada has reached out to the city for help. Ethan Varian, Los Angeles Magazine, "Activists Are Fighting to Preserve Highland Park’s Remaining Chicano Murals," 20 June 2018 The teachers’ strikes were grassroots efforts, mostly organized in secret Facebook groups, and participating educators didn’t all belong to unions. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Lessons From the Gilded Age," 13 June 2018 In a bipartisan, grassroots effort led by Withington, Clay County residents have been collecting signatures for a petition. Kelsey Ryan, kansascity, "Record tampering, retaliation, $600 coffeepots. What's going on in Clay Co. government?," 11 June 2018 The walkouts, a grassroots effort from local members within the union, began May 31, including outside the company's Meridian Street location in Indianapolis. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "AT&T employee walkout ends with no contract agreement reached," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction

Barrett is a favorite of the grass roots and would do the most to fire up the base. Jan Crawford, CBS News, "Sen. Susan Collins says she won't support Supreme Court pick with "hostility" to Roe v. Wade," 2 July 2018 What’s going on at the Democratic grass roots is arguably the undercovered story that may tell us more about what happens (or not) on Election Day 2018. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "Rot on the Right, Green Shoots on the Left," 28 June 2018 He is considered the shining star of a grass roots movement called 5 star that has shaken up the Italian political landscape. Houston Chronicle, "Does the Democratic Party have the talent, money to carry the day?," 22 June 2018 He is considered the shining star of a grass roots movement called 5 star that has shaken up the Italian political landscape. Houston Chronicle, "Does the Democratic Party have the talent, money to carry the day?," 22 June 2018 Having covered the sport on a daily basis, and now on a semi basis, the problem is the problem, and no amount of marketing or gimmick can change it: The sport is simply too expensive to grow on a grass roots level to enjoy large gains. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "NHL has a major event coming to town and you don't even know it," 21 June 2018 Still, there is annoyance with the praise among the Democratic grass roots. Joshua Miller,, "Praise from Democrats is making Baker harder to hit," 7 June 2018 The financial struggles facing the gubernatorial candidates come, ironically, as the party experiences a surge in activism among its grass roots, mostly stirred by the strong passions aimed at President Trump., "Massie campaign loses communications chief," 24 May 2018 The orange-toothed rodents have been blamed for destabilizing canal banks and nearby streets by eating grass roots and burrowing into the earth. Drew Broach,, "Nutria in Jefferson Parish drainage canals to stay in SWAT crosshairs," 15 May 2018

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


1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction

1901, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grassroots


see grass entry 1

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for grassroots

The first known use of grassroots was in 1901

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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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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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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