root·​let | \ ˈrüt-lət How to pronounce rootlet (audio) , ˈru̇t- \

Definition of rootlet

: a small root — see seedling illustration

Examples of rootlet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The coastal glaciers are like rootlets tendriling off the taproot of Greenland’s interior, the channels through which much of the ice is lost. Jonathan Nackstrand, National Geographic, "Greenland's melting ice may affect everyone's future," 15 Oct. 2019 Splaying out some 18 feet from the base of their trunks and digging deep into the soil, the roots were sturdy, branched, and intricate, with delicate rootlets splaying from their tips. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The World’s Oldest Forest Has 385-Million-Year-Old Tree Roots," 20 Dec. 2019 By contrast, the giant relatives of the Xinhang trees, which dominated swamps millions of years later, commonly had what are known as stigmarian roots, which split into branches surrounded by tiny rootlets. Deming Wang, National Geographic, "Bizarre fossils reveal Asia’s oldest known forest," 8 Aug. 2019 Wei-Haas reports that the Xinhang trees have stigmarian roots, or branching roots covered in rootlets. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Fossil Trees Reveal the Oldest Known Forest in Asia," 9 Aug. 2019 The fungi grow underground, usually nestled in the deep, fine network of tiny rootlets of oak trees, in a special kind of symbiosis. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "Europe’s precious truffles are struggling to survive intensifying droughts," 11 July 2019 The long radishes broke it up and drew nutrients toward the surface; tall grasses like sorghum produced numerous fine rootlets, adding organic material to the land; legumes harbored bacteria that put nitrogen into the soil. Moises Velasquez-manoff, New York Times, "Can Dirt Save the Earth?," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rootlet.' 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 rootlet

circa 1793, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for rootlet

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The first known use of rootlet was circa 1793

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Cite this Entry

“Rootlet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for rootlet


root·​let | \ -lət How to pronounce rootlet (audio) \

Medical Definition of rootlet

: a small root also : one of the ultimate divisions of a nerve root

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