root [root roots rooted rooting] noun, verb BrE [ruːt]
NAmE [ruːt]
noun  OF PLANT
1. countable the part of a plant that grows under the ground and absorbs water and minerals that it sends to the rest of the plant
deep spreading roots
I pulled the plant up by (= including) . the roots.
Tree roots can cause damage to buildings.
root crops/vegetables (= plants whose roots you can eat, such as carrots)
see also grass roots, taproot  
2. countable the part of a hair, tooth, nail or tongue that attaches it to the rest of the body
hair that is blonde at the ends and dark at the roots  
3. countable, usually singular the main cause of sth, such as a problem or difficult situation
Money, or love of money, is said to be the root of all evil.
We have to get to the root of the problem.
What lies at the root of his troubles is a sense of insecurity.
What would you say was the root cause of the problem?  
4. countable, usually plural the origin or basis of sth
Flamenco has its roots in Arabic music.  
5. roots plural the feelings or connections that you have with a place because you have lived there or your family came from there
I'm proud of my Italian roots.
After 20 years in America, I still feel my roots are in England.  
6. countable (linguistics) the part of a word that has the main meaning and that its other forms are based on; a word that other words are formed from
‘Walk’ is the root of ‘walks’, ‘walked’, ‘walking’ and ‘walker’.  
7. countable a quantity which, when multiplied by itself a particular number of times, produces another quantity
see also cube root, square root
Word Origin:
n. late Old English rōt Old Norse rót Latin radix
v. Old English wrōtan Germanic Old English wrōt ‘snout’ German Rüssel ‘snout’ Latin rodere ‘gnaw’
root noun
1. C
We have to get to the root of the problem.
Flamenco has its roots in Arabic music.
origin/origins • • cause • • source • • starting point • • beginnings
(a) common roots/origin/cause/source/starting point
have (a) roots/origins/cause/source/starting point/beginnings
locate/discover/investigate/trace the roots/origin/cause/source of sth
Root or origins? Root is used especially about the cause of a problem; use origin to talk about when, where and how sth started:  ✗ We have to get to the origin of the problem.:
the origin of the universe
 ✗ the root of the universe Roots can suggest an emotional or cultural attachment; origins is more scientific.
2. pl.
I'm proud of my African roots.
origin/origins • • background • • ancestry • • parentage • • pedigree • • family|formal blood • • descent • • lineage
ethnic/racial/social/cultural roots/origin/background/ancestry/pedigree/descent
African, Scottish, Italian, etc. roots/origin/background/ancestry/parentage/descent
trace your roots/origin/ancestry/pedigree/family/lineage
The living world
animals mate/breed/reproduce/feed (on sth)
fish/amphibians swim/spawn (= lay eggs)
birds fly/migrate/nest/sing
insects crawl/fly/bite/sting
insects/bees/locusts swarm
bees collect/gather nectar/pollen
spiders spin/weave a web
snakes/lizards shed their skins
bears/hedgehogs/frogs hibernate
insect larvae grow/develop/pupate
an egg/a chick/a larva hatches
attract/find/choose a mate
produce/release eggs/sperm
lay/fertilize/incubate/hatch eggs
inhabit a forest/a reef/the coast
mark/enter/defend (a) territory
stalk/hunt/capture/catch/kill prey
Plants and fungi
trees/plants grow/bloom/blossom/flower
a seed germinates/sprouts
leaves/buds/roots/shoots appear/develop/form
flower buds swell/open
a fungus grows/spreads/colonizes sth
pollinate/fertilize a flower/plant
produce/release/spread/disperse pollen/seeds/spores
produce/bear fruit
develop/grow/form roots/shoots/leaves
provide/supply/absorb/extract/release nutrients
perform/increase/reduce photosynthesis
Bacteria and viruses
bacteria/microbes/viruses grow/spread/multiply
bacteria/microbes live/thrive in/on sth
bacteria/microbes/viruses evolve/colonize sth/cause disease
bacteria break sth down/convert sth (into sth)
a virus enters/invades sth/the body
a virus mutates/evolves/replicates (itself)
be infected with/contaminated with/exposed to a new strain of a virus/drug-resistant bacteria
contain/carry/harbour (especially US) harbor bacteria/a virus
kill/destroy/eliminate harmful/deadly bacteria
Example Bank:
His fears of loneliness lay at the very root of his inability to leave.
I expect money is at the root of the matter.
I hope those cuttings will take root.
I've spent months trying to get to the root of the problem.
It is a moral question at root.
Jazz's roots are firmly planted in African tradition.
My husband wants to go back to his Irish roots.
She pulled the shrub out by its roots.
The company's roots go back to the 18th century.
The two languages share a common root.
The unrest has roots in religious differences.
They can trace their roots back to the 16th century.
They consider globalization to be the root of all evil.
We haven't been here long enough to put down roots.
severed from our cultural roots by industrialization
The custom has its origins/roots in Wales.
This shameful treatment struck at the very roots of their human dignity.
We have to get to the root of the problem.
Idioms: put down roots root and branch take root
Derived: root for somebody root somebody out root somebody to something root something up
1. intransitive, transitive ~ (sth) to grow roots; to make or encourage a plant to grow roots  
2. intransitive to search for sth by moving things or turning things over
Syn: rummage
~ (about/around) for sth pigs rooting for food
Who's been rooting around in my desk?
~ (through sth) (for sth) ‘It must be here somewhere,’ she said, rooting through the suitcase.
Cats had been rooting in the garbage bags again.  
3. intransitive, transitive ~ (sb) (AustralE, NZE, taboo, slang) to have sex with sb
Verb forms:
Word Origin:
n. late Old English rōt Old Norse rót Latin radix
v. Old English wrōtan Germanic Old English wrōt ‘snout’ German Rüssel ‘snout’ Latin rodere ‘gnaw’
Example Bank:
Cats had been rooting through the garbage bags again.
There were a few pigs rooting for food.
Who's been rooting around in my desk?

WordNet Dictionary:
1. (botany) the usually underground organ that lacks buds or leaves or nodes; absorbs water and mineral salts; usually it anchors the plant to the ground
- thematic vowels are part of the stem
Syn: root word, base, stem, theme, radical
3. the place where something begins, where it springs into being
- the Italian beginning of the Renaissance
- Jupiter was the origin of the radiation
- Pittsburgh is the source of the Ohio River
- communism's Russian root
Syn: beginning, origin, rootage, source
4. a number that, when multiplied by itself some number of times, equals a given number
5. the set of values that give a true statement when substituted into an equation
Syn: solution
6. someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent)
Syn: ancestor, ascendant, ascendent, antecedent
Ant: descendant (for: ancestor)
7. a simple form inferred as the common basis from which related words in several languages can be derived by linguistic processes
Syn: etymon
8. the part of a tooth that is embedded in the jaw and serves as support
Syn: tooth root
1. take root and begin to grow
- this plant roots quickly
Syn: cellar

Webster's 1913 Dictionary:
v. i.1.To turn up the earth with the snout, as swine.
2.Hence, to seek for favor or advancement by low arts or groveling servility; to fawn servilely.
v. t.1.To turn up or to dig out with the snout; as, the swine roots the earth.
n.1.(Bot.) The underground portion of a plant, whether a true root or a tuber, a bulb or rootstock, as in the potato, the onion, or the sweet flag.
2.An edible or esculent root, especially of such plants as produce a single root, as the beet, carrot, etc.; as, the root crop.
3.That which resembles a root in position or function, esp. as a source of nourishment or support; that from which anything proceeds as if by growth or development; as, the root of a tooth, a nail, a cancer, and the like.
They were the roots out of which sprang two distinct people.
4.A primitive form of speech; one of the earliest terms employed in language; a word from which other words are formed; a radix, or radical.
The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
4.(Astrol.) The time which to reckon in making calculations.
When a root is of a birth yknowe [known].
Aërial roots
a - (Bot.) Small roots emitted from the stem of a plant in the open air, which, attaching themselves to the bark of trees, etc., serve to support the plant.
b - Large roots growing from the stem, etc., which descend and establish themselves in the soil. See Illust. of Mangrove.
Multiple primary root
(Bot.) a name given to the numerous roots emitted from the radicle in many plants, as the squash.
Primary root
(Bot.) the central, first-formed, main root, from which the rootlets are given off.
Root and branch
every part; wholly; completely; as, to destroy an error root and branch.
Root-and-branch men
radical reformers; - a designation applied to the English Independents (1641). See Citation under Radical, n., 2.
Root barnacle
(Zool.) one of the Rhizocephala.
Root hair
(Bot.) one of the slender, hairlike fibers found on the surface of fresh roots. They are prolongations of the superficial cells of the root into minute tubes.
Root leaf
(Bot.) a radical leaf.
Root louse
b - (Zool.) any plant louse, or aphid, which lives on the roots of plants, as the Phylloxera of the grapevine.
Root of an equation
(Alg.) that value which, substituted for the unknown quantity in an equation, satisfies the equation.
Root of a nail
(Anat.) the part of a nail which is covered by the skin.
Root of a tooth
(Anat.) the part of a tooth contained in the socket and consisting of one or more fangs.
Secondary roots
(Bot.) roots emitted from any part of the plant above the radicle.
To strike root
to send forth roots; to become fixed in the earth, etc., by a root; hence, in general, to become planted, fixed, or established; to increase and spread; as, an opinion takes root.
5.(Math.) That factor of a quantity which when multiplied into itself will produce that quantity; thus, 3 is a root of 9, because 3 multiplied into itself produces 9; 3 is the cube root of 27.
6.The lowest place, position, or part.
v. i.1.To fix the root; to enter the earth, as roots; to take root and begin to grow.
[imp. & p. p. Rooted; p. pr. & vb. n. Rooting.]
In deep grounds the weeds root deeper.
2.To be firmly fixed; to be established.
If any irregularity chanced to intervene and to cause misappehensions, he gave them not leave to root and fasten by concealment.
1.To shout for, or otherwise noisly applaud or encourage, a contestant, as in sports; hence, to wish earnestly for the success of some one or the happening of some event, with the superstitious notion that this action may have efficacy; - usually with for; as, the crowd rooted for the home team.
v. t.1.To plant and fix deeply in the earth, or as in the earth; to implant firmly; hence, to make deep or radical; to establish; - used chiefly in the participle; as, rooted trees or forests; rooted dislike.
2.To tear up by the root; to eradicate; to extirpate; - with up, out, or away.
The Lord rooted them out of their land . . . and cast them into another land.

Dictionary of Computing:
root - 1. The Unix superuser account (withuser name "root" and user ID 0) that overrides filepermissions. The term avatar is also used. By extension,the privileged system-maintenance login on any operating system.

See root mode, go root, wheel.

Legal Dictionary:

ROOT. That part of a tree or plant under ground from which it draws most of its nourishment from the earth.
     2. When the roots of a tree planted in one man's land extend into that of another, this circumstance does not give the latter any right to the tree, though such is the doctrine of the civil law; Dig. 41, 1, 7, 13; but such person has a right to cut off the roots up to his line. Rolle's R. 394, vide Tree.
     3. In a figurative sense, the term root is used to signify the person from whom one or more others are descended. Vide Descent; Per stirpes.

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