root Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun (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
  2. noun the place where something begins, where it springs into being
    origin; beginning; rootage; source.
    • 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
  3. noun (linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed
    root word; radical; stem; theme; base.
    • thematic vowels are part of the stem
  4. noun a number that, when multiplied by itself some number of times, equals a given number
  5. noun the set of values that give a true statement when substituted into an equation
  6. noun someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent)
    ascendent; antecedent; ancestor; ascendant.
  7. noun a simple form inferred as the common basis from which related words in several languages can be derived by linguistic processes
  8. noun the part of a tooth that is embedded in the jaw and serves as support
    tooth root.
  9. verb take root and begin to grow
    • this plant roots quickly
  10. verb come into existence, originate
    • The problem roots in her depression
  11. verb plant by the roots
  12. verb dig with the snout
    rout; rootle.
    • the pig was rooting for truffles
  13. verb become settled or established and stable in one's residence or life style
    settle; take root; steady down; settle down.
    • He finally settled down
  14. verb cause to take roots


Root intransitive verb
AS. wrotan; akin to wrot a snout, trunk, D. wroeten to root, G. rüssel snout, trunk, proboscis, Icel. rota to root, and perhaps to L. rodere to gnaw (E. rodent) or to E. root, n.
  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.
Root transitive verb
  1. To turn up or to dig out with the snout; as, the swine roots the earth.
Root noun
Icel. rot (for vrot); akin to E. wort, and perhaps to root to turn up the earth. See Wort.
  1. (Bot.) (a) 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. (b) The descending, and commonly branching, axis of a plant, increasing in length by growth at its extremity only, not divided into joints, leafless and without buds, and having for its offices to fix the plant in the earth, to supply it with moisture and soluble matters, and sometimes to serve as a reservoir of nutriment for future growth. A true root, however, may never reach the ground, but may be attached to a wall, etc., as in the ivy, or may hang loosely in the air, as in some epiphytic orchids.
  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. Specifically: (a) An ancestor or progenitor; and hence, an early race; a stem.
    They were the roots out of which sprang two distinct people. Locke.
    (b) 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. (c) The cause or occasion by which anything is brought about; the source. "She herself . . . is root of bounty." Chaucer.
    The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. 1 Tim. vi. 10 (rev. Ver. )
    (d) (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. (e) (Mus.) The fundamental tone of any chord; the tone from whose harmonics, or overtones, a chord is composed. Busby. (f) The lowest place, position, or part. "Deep to the roots of hell." Milton. "The roots of the mountains." Southey.
  4. (Astrol.) The time which to reckon in making calculations.
    When a root is of a birth yknowe [known]. Chaucer.
Root intransitive verb
imperfect & past participle Rooted; present participle & verbal noun Rooting
  1. To fix the root; to enter the earth, as roots; to take root and begin to grow.
    In deep grounds the weeds root deeper. Mortimer.
  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. Bp. Fell.
Root transitive verb
  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. "I will go root away the noisome weeds." Shak.
    The Lord rooted them out of their land . . . and cast them into another land. Deut. xxix. 28.

Webster 1913