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a part of the body of a plant that develops, typically, from the radicle and grows downward into the soil, anchoring the plant and absorbing nutriment and moisture.
a similar organ developed from some other part of a plant, as one of those by which ivy clings to its support.
any underground part of a plant, as a rhizome.
something resembling or suggesting the root of a plant in position or function:
roots of wires and cables.
the embedded or basal portion of a hair, tooth, nail, nerve, etc.
the fundamental or essential part:
the root of a matter.
Synonyms: base, foundation, basic part, basic element.
the source or origin of a thing:
The love of money is the root of all evil.
Synonyms: beginning, rise, fount, fountainhead, spring, wellspring; derivation, originator.
a person or family as the source of offspring or descendants.
Synonyms: parent, progenitor; ancestor(s), forebear(s), forefather.
an offshoot or scion.

Also called nth root. a quantity that, when raised to the nth power (multiplied by itself n times), produces a given quantity:
The number 2 is the square root of 4, the cube root of 8, and the fourth root of 16.
a value of the argument of a function for which the function takes the value zero.


Also called root directory. the topmost directory of a hierarchical file system.
the UNIX account, having the username “root,” that allows administrator privileges.


a morpheme that underlies an inflectional or derivational paradigm, as dance, the root in danced, dancer, or ten-, the root of Latin tendere “to stretch.”.
such a form reconstructed for a parent language, as *sed-, the hypothetical proto-Indo-European root meaning “sit.”.


a person’s original or true home, environment, and culture:
He’s lived in New York for twenty years, but his roots are in France.
the personal relationships, affinity for a locale, habits, and the like, that make a country, region, city, or town one’s true home:
He lived in Tulsa for a few years, but never established any roots there.
personal identification with a culture, religion, etc., seen as promoting the development of the character or the stability of society as a whole.


the fundamental tone of a compound tone or of a series of harmonies.
the lowest tone of a chord when arranged as a series of thirds; the fundamental.


(in a screw or other threaded object) the narrow inner surface between threads.
Compare crest (def 18), flank (def 7).
(in a gear) the narrow inner surface between teeth.

Australian Informal. an act of sexual intercourse.
Shipbuilding. the inner angle of an angle iron.
verb (used with object)
to fix by or as if by roots:
We were rooted to the spot by surprise.
to implant or establish deeply:
Good manners were rooted in him like a second nature.
to pull, tear, or dig up by the roots (often followed by up or out).
to extirpate; exterminate; remove completely (often followed by up or out):
to root out crime.
Synonyms: eradicate, eliminate, wipe out, obliterate.
Digital Technology.

to gain access to the operating system of (a smartphone, tablet, gaming console, etc.), as to alter system files or settings.
Compare jailbreak (def 3).
to install a rootkit on (a computer, electronic device, etc.).

verb (used without object)
to become fixed or established.
Digital Technology. to manipulate the operating system of a smartphone, tablet, etc.
Compare jailbreak (def 4).
root and branch, utterly; entirely:
to destroy something root and branch.
take root,

to send out roots; begin to grow.
to become fixed or established:
The prejudices of parents usually take root in their children.

on a large scale or without discrimination; wholesale: root-and-branch reforms
entirely; completely; utterly: Brazil needs reform root and branch

the organ of a higher plant that anchors the rest of the plant in the ground, absorbs water and mineral salts from the soil, and does not bear leaves or buds
(loosely) any of the branches of such an organ

any plant part, such as a rhizome or tuber, that is similar to a root in structure, function, or appearance

the essential, fundamental, or primary part or nature of something: your analysis strikes at the root of the problem
(as modifier): the root cause of the problem

(anatomy) the embedded portion of a tooth, nail, hair, etc
origin or derivation, esp as a source of growth, vitality, or existence
(pl) a person’s sense of belonging in a community, place, etc, esp the one in which he was born or brought up
an ancestor or antecedent
(Bible) a descendant
the form of a word that remains after removal of all affixes; a morpheme with lexical meaning that is not further subdivisible into other morphemes with lexical meaning Compare stem1 (sense 9)
(maths) a number or quantity that when multiplied by itself a certain number of times equals a given number or quantity: 3 is a cube root of 27
(maths) Also called solution. a number that when substituted for the variable satisfies a given equation: 2 is a root of x³ – 2x – 4 = 0
(music) (in harmony) the note forming the foundation of a chord
(Austral & NZ, slang) sexual intercourse
root and branch

(adverb) entirely; completely; utterly
(adjective) thorough; radical; complete

related adjective radical
(intransitive) Also take root. to put forth or establish a root and begin to grow
(intransitive) Also take root. to become established, embedded, or effective
(transitive) to fix or embed with or as if with a root or roots
(Austral & NZ, slang) to have sexual intercourse (with)
verb (intransitive)
(of a pig) to burrow in or dig up the earth in search of food, using the snout
(informal) foll by about, around, in etc. to search vigorously but unsystematically
(informal) (intransitive) usually foll by for. to give support to (a contestant, team, etc), as by cheering

root (rōōt, rut)

The embedded part of an organ or structure, such as a hair, tooth, or nerve, serving as a base or support.

A primary source; an origin; radix.

(rt, rt)

A plant part that usually grows underground, secures the plant in place, absorbs minerals and water, and stores food manufactured by leaves and other plant parts. Roots grow in a root system. Eudicots and magnoliids have a central, longer, and larger taproot with many narrower lateral roots branching off, while monocots have a mass of threadlike fibrous roots, which are roughly the same length and remain close to the surface of the soil. In vascular plants, roots usually consist of a central cylinder of vascular tissue, surrounded by the pericycle and endodermis, then a thick layer of cortex, and finally an outer epidermis or (in woody plants) periderm. Only finer roots (known as feeder roots) actively take up water and minerals, generally in the uppermost meter of soil. These roots absorb minerals primarily through small epidermal structures known as root hairs. In certain plants, adventitious roots grow out from the stem above ground as aerial roots or prop roots, bending down into the soil, to facilitate the exchange of gases or increase support. Certain plants (such as the carrot and beet) have fleshy storage roots with abundant parenchyma in their vascular tissues. See also fibrous root, taproot.

Any of various other plant parts that grow underground, especially an underground stem such as a corm, rhizome, or tuber.

The part of a tooth that is embedded in the jaw and not covered by enamel.


A number that, when multiplied by itself a given number of times, produces a specified number. For example, since 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 = 16, 2 is a fourth root of 16.

A solution to an equation. For example, a root of the equation x2 – 4 = 0 is 2, since 22 – 4 = 0.

root definition

In biology, the part of a plant that grows downward and holds the plant in place, absorbs water and minerals from the soil, and often stores food. The main root of a plant is called the primary root; others are called secondary roots. The hard tip is called the root cap, which protects the growing cells behind it. Root hairs increase the root’s absorbing surface.

root definition

The part of a tooth below the gum. The root anchors the tooth to the jawbone.
root 3


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    noun 1. a roughly spherical aggregate of roots and soil that is transplanted with a plant, especially a tree or shrub. 2. the ball of soil and roots of a plant growing in a pot or other container.

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    noun 1. a carbonated beverage flavored with syrup made from the extracted juices of roots, barks, and herbs that have been fermented with sugar and yeast. noun 1. (US & Canadian) an effervescent drink made from extracts of various roots and herbs

  • Root bridge

    communications, hardware, networking A bridge which continuously transmits network topology information to other bridges, using the spanning tree protocol, in order to notify all other bridges on the network when topology changes are required. This means that a network is able to reconfigure itself whenever a network link (e.g. another bridge) fails, so an alternative […]

  • Root-canal

    noun, Dentistry. 1. Also called pulp canal. the root portion of the pulp cavity. 2. Informal. root canal therapy (def 2). noun 1. the passage in the root of a tooth through which its nerves and blood vessels enter the pulp cavity root canal n. The chamber of the dental pulp lying within the root […]

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