root 1 of 2

as in origin
the source from which something grows or develops one would need to go back at least several hundred years to find the root of the entrenched hostility between the neighboring nations

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

How is the word root distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of root are inception, origin, and source. While all these words mean "the point at which something begins its course or existence," root suggests a first, ultimate, or fundamental source often not easily discerned.

the real root of the violence

When would inception be a good substitute for root?

While the synonyms inception and root are close in meaning, inception stresses the beginning of something without implying causes.

the business has been a success since its inception

When is it sensible to use origin instead of root?

The synonyms origin and root are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

Where would source be a reasonable alternative to root?

In some situations, the words source and root are roughly equivalent. However, source applies more often to the point where something springs into being.

the source of the Nile
the source of recurrent trouble

Thesaurus Entries Near root

Cite this Entry

“Root.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on root

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