grassroots

adjective
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

Passionate interests on each side of an issue mobilize and fight and the stronger coalition, whether measured in money or grassroots support, ultimately prevails. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Billionaires are spending their fortunes reshaping America’s schools. It isn’t working.," 30 Oct. 2018 The combination of grassroots support and building legal pressure has pushed the notoriously somnambulant NCAA to action. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Urban Meyer Tweets, and the Ohio State Football Crisis Takes a Turn," 3 Aug. 2018 Closer examination of what happened in many state and local elections reveals success on the part of grassroots organizers who’ve been working steadily year round to activate and empower the disenfranchised and oppressed. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 In addition to growing its staff, the ACLU has launched a new program called PeoplePower.org, a grassroots organizing system that runs campaigns like Let People Vote. Renae Reints, Fortune, "The ACLU's Membership Has Surged and It's Putting Its New Resources to Use," 5 July 2018 Carter, a Democrat who previously served as a Delegate in Maryland's General Assembly, generated significant support from women and grassroots advocates. Essence.com, "Primaries Yield Big Electoral Wins For Black Women, Men And People Of Color Nationwide," 28 June 2018 Some forward progress was made in the 1960s, especially as grassroots activism took hold within the LGBTQ community. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story of “A Very English Scandal” and the Trials of a Closeted Gay Politician," 27 June 2018 Primaries typically draw only hard-core voters, so targeted outreach like neighborhood canvassing instead of television ads and mass mailings fits with DiMasi’s grassroots strategy. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Physicist hopes the evidence is clear in bid for New York congressional seat," 20 June 2018 Glover was there because Maures is collaborating with Sankofa, a social justice group founded in 2013 by Harry Belafonte that brings attention to worthy grassroots projects through the involvement of high-profile artists. Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Danny Glover headlines event celebrating return of America's Black Holocaust Museum," 18 June 2018

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

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, "6 Tips to Get Your Lawn Ready for Fall," 24 Aug. 2018 Even the larvae feed on organic matter and grass roots, potentially causing a great deal of damage to your lawn. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Defend Your Garden Against Japanese Beetles," 18 June 2018 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, BostonGlobe.com, "Praise from Democrats is making Baker harder to hit," 7 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of grassroots

Adjective

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

Adjective

see grass entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grassroots

Statistics for grassroots

Last Updated

28 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grassroots

The first known use of grassroots was in 1901

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for grassroots

grass roots

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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