Synonyms of root

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 a point or place at which something is invented or provided
  • he insists that insecurity is the root of all jealousy

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2 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

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3 an immaterial thing upon which something else rests
  • an implicit trust in the wisdom of the people is the root of democracy

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4 the central part or aspect of something under consideration
  • at root, it's a question of the proper limits, if any, of free speech

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Phrases Synonymous with root



Synonyms & Antonyms of root (Entry 2 of 2)

to set solidly in or as if in surrounding matter
  • rooted the post securely in the dirt

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Near Antonyms for root

Antonyms for root

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Frequently Asked Questions About root

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

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Time Traveler for root

Time Traveler

The first known use of root was in the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Root.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on root

Dictionary: Definition of root

Medical Dictionary: Definition of root

Nglish: Translation of root for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of root for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about root

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