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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 grassroots organization addresses the disproportionately high rates of violence against Native women. Caroline Brew, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 Sound of Freedom’s performance at the box office was due in part to a grassroots campaign from Angel that made audiences feel part of a movement to help end child trafficking. Rudie Obias, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Nov. 2023 Some had known Parker for decades as friends and fellow grassroots political leaders. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, 10 Nov. 2023 For instance, an influencer known for their luxury lifestyle might not be the best fit for promoting a grassroots campaign for economic equality; such a mismatch can appear insincere and detract from the campaign's message. Danielle Wiley, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 He was inspired by Vietnam War protests to organize a nationwide grassroots demonstration to promote conservation involvement and awareness. Nicole Harris, Parents, 22 Oct. 2023 Their grassroots lobbying has paid off with major legislative wins, including a pair of housing construction bills that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Wednesday. Hannah Wiley, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2023 The showing also amounted to a win for grassroots organizations that spent more than a decade registering and mobilizing Latino voters. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 On the heels of the Central Park incident, activists formed a grassroots group called Bird Names for Birds and began to push the American Ornithological Society to rename all eponymous avian species. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Nov. 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 Then Nyala University’s Center for Peace Studies and 15 other grass roots organizations became involved. Hafiz Haroun, Washington Post, 24 Apr. 2023 Frequent light watering actually encourages weeds to pop up and grass roots to grow shallowly, which makes grass less drought tolerant. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 20 Apr. 2023 See More

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 2 Dec. 2023.

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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