: 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
Controlling Callery pears is difficult because their sturdy, extensive root system makes the trees almost impossible to kill with herbicides.—Maeghan Dolph, Fox News, 25 Mar. 2023 The root cause of that discrepancy is that the Diamondbacks have a lefty-heavy lineup.—Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 24 Mar. 2023 While a myriad of factors contribute to the condition, poor judgment on the part of select injectors is, no doubt, a root cause.—Jolene Edgar, Allure, 24 Mar. 2023 Deep planting will spur a larger, more expansive root system than if the transplant was situated at ground level.—Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Mar. 2023 In addition, their long root systems prevent soil erosion.—Holly Haber, Dallas News, 23 Mar. 2023 The INEOS Facility is currently shut down while officials investigate to determine the incident's root cause.—Kennedy Sessions, Chron, 23 Mar. 2023 Smart manufacturing helps identify the waste, track the sources, analyze the data, determine the root causes and then eliminate those causes, which in turn eliminates the waste.—John Clemons, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023 As Tim Carney writes in the Washington Examiner, debating the root cause of the problem is secondary to fixing it, and the Texas Department of Health could render the lawsuit moot by clarifying the law for hospitals.—John Mccormack, National Review, 22 Mar. 2023
For the first time, we’re made to root against him.—Men's Health, 24 Mar. 2023 The aims were to figure out which groups still existed within the department, assess whether existing department policies had been effective in combating them and make recommendations on how to root them out.—Richard Wintonstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2023 The encampment of protesters once numbered about 2,000, but police efforts to root them out have dwindled their numbers to around 200 as of Wednesday.—Michael Lee, Fox News, 11 Jan. 2023 This kind of attitude is why many college football fans root against Michigan.—Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 3 Jan. 2023 After three years of traveling through the lowest part of your chart—your fourth house of home, family, and ancestry—you’ve likely spent a lot of time and energy finding a place to root yourself.—Kirah Tabourn, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 Feb. 2023 We are left with an awkward question: for whom, exactly, are we supposed to root?—Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 24 Feb. 2023 Inflation eased for a seventh month straight in January, but interest rates will keep rising as the Fed works harder to root stubbornly high prices out of the economy.—Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2023 In my house, Friday is officially Fridge Forage Day, a time to root around the fridge (and pantry) like a truffle-hunting piglet, hoping to unearth a treasure.—Shilpa Uskokovic, Bon Appétit, 30 Jan. 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