: the usually underground part of a seed plant body that originates usually from the hypocotyl, functions as an organ of absorption, aeration, and food storage or as a means of anchorage and support, and differs from a stem especially in lacking nodes, buds, and leaves
: any subterranean plant part (such as a true root or a bulb, tuber, rootstock, or other modified stem) especially when fleshy and edible
origin applies to the things or persons from which something is ultimately derived and often to the causes operating before the thing itself comes into being.
an investigation into the origin of baseball
source applies more often to the point where something springs into being.
the source of the Nile
the source of recurrent trouble
inception stresses the beginning of something without implying causes.
the business has been a success since its inception
root suggests a first, ultimate, or fundamental source often not easily discerned.
the real root of the violence
Elm trees have shallow roots.
Pull weeds up by the roots so that they don't grow back.
You can tell that she dyes her hair blonde because her dark roots are showing.
Recent Examples on the Web
While San Antonio rarely gets cold enough to properly enjoy a bowl of chili, the dish can trace a lot of its roots back to the Alamo City.—Shepard Price, San Antonio Express-News, 17 May 2023 Garlands of oranges and their leaves ran down the center of feast tables, a homage to the culture’s agrarian roots.—Deborah Reid, Washington Post, 17 May 2023 Becker argued that the bank run was the central root cause of the bank’s failure.—Lucy Brewster, Fortune, 16 May 2023 Boston is where his musical roots are, having graduated from New England Conservatory of music and spent many Fridays attending Boston Symphony concerts at nearby Symphony Hall, arguably the best concert hall in America until Disney Hall opened in 2003.—Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2023 White supremacy is the root cause of gun violence in America, but the far right is always looking for a new evil villain and ways to distract the American people.—Margo Price, Rolling Stone, 15 May 2023 Martha Stewart is going back to her roots as the newest cover model for Sports Illustrated.—Shania Russell, EW.com, 15 May 2023 This year marks the 25th anniversary of the charitable group, which has spread its roots across New York City and Boston and currently works with 1,300 families.—Degen Pener, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 May 2023 This creamy, spreadable mask applies like a dream from root to ends.—Sarah Y. Wu, Peoplemag, 11 May 2023
The overwhelming part is that so many people were hoping and rooting and in my corner.—Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 17 May 2023 Purchase rooted chrysanthemum cuttings, including varieties not available in garden centers and get expert advice.—Corey Sheldon | , oregonlive, 12 May 2023 Swimmers cut through languid, lime green water that wound between soaring red rock cliffs some 500 feet high and past massive mesas and eroding hills rooted with mesquite and saguaro.—Adam Skolnick, New York Times, 10 May 2023 Most encounters with this spider occur from moving boxes or rooting about in closets or under beds.—Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, 3 May 2023 Yet the concept of taking 10,000 steps a day to maintain health is rooted not in science but in a marketing gimmick.—Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, 1 May 2023 While at first glance that may all seem above board, in practice the job looked more like breaking into people's offices and rooting through their papers.—Milan Polk, Men's Health, 1 May 2023 Employees at a movie theater in Kenai got a big surprise this week when a curious moose strolled into the lobby and rooted through the trash, then left after a few minutes with a Happy Meal box stuck to its snout.—Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Apr. 2023 In just 20 minutes of rooting around the creek bed, Fausel had found about $100 worth of gold.—Thomas Fuller, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Apr. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'root.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Old English rōt, from Old Norse; akin to Old English wyrt root, Latin radix, Greek rhiza
alteration of wroot, from Middle English wroten, from Old English wrōtan; akin to Old High German ruozzan to root
: the usually underground part of a seed plant body that functions as an organ of absorption, aeration, and food storage or as a means of anchorage and support and that differs from a stem especially in lacking nodes, buds, and leaves
: any subterranean plant part (as a true root or a bulb, tuber, rootstock, or other modified stem) especially when fleshy and edible
: the part of a tooth within the socket
: any of the processes into which the root of a tooth is often divided
: the enlarged basal part of a hair within the skin