Definition of root noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ruːt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ruːt//
    Mouth and teeth, Mathematical terminology, Plants
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    of plant
  1. 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) CollocationsThe living worldAnimals animals mate/​breed/​reproduce/​feed (on something) 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 preyPlants 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 something 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 photosynthesisBacteria and viruses bacteria/​microbes/​viruses grow/​spread/​multiply bacteria/​microbes live/​thrive in/​on something bacteria/​microbes/​viruses evolve/​colonize something/​cause disease bacteria break something down/​convert something (into something) a virus enters/​invades something/​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 English) harbor bacteria/​a virus kill/​destroy/​eliminate harmful/​deadly bacteria see also grass roots, taproot See related entries: Plants
  2. of hair/tooth/nail
  3. 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 See related entries: Mouth and teeth
  4. main cause of problem
  5. 3  [countable, usually singular] the main cause of something, 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?
  6. origin
  7. 4  [countable, usually plural] the origin or basis of something Flamenco may have its roots in Arabic music.
  8. connection with place
  9. 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.
  10. of word
  11. 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’.
  12. mathematics
  13. 7 [countable] a quantity which, when multiplied by itself a particular number of times, produces another quantity see also cube root, square root See related entries: Mathematical terminology
  14. Word Originnoun late Old English rōt, from Old Norse rót; related to Latin radix.Extra examples 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
    1. 1(of a plant) to develop roots
    2. 2to settle and live in one place After ten years travelling the world, she felt it was time to put down roots somewhere.
    thoroughly and completely The government set out to destroy the organization root and branch. root-and-branch reforms
    1. 1(of a plant) to develop roots
    2. 2(of an idea) to become accepted widely Fortunately, militarism failed to take root in Europe as a whole.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: root