1 /ru:t/ noun (C)
1 PLANT the part of a plant or tree that grows under the ground and gets water from the soil: Be careful not to damage the roots when repotting. | tree roots
2 CAUSE OF A PROBLEM the main cause of a problem: Money is the root of all evil. | be/lie at the root of (=be the cause of a problem): Often allergies are at the root of a lot of the problems. | get to the root of (=find out the cause of a problem) | root cause (=the main reason for a problem)
3 OF A CUSTOM/TRADITION roots the origins of a custom or tradition that has continued for a long time: has its roots in: Jazz has its roots in the folk songs of the southern states of the US.
4 OF AN IDEA/BELIEF the main part of an idea or belief which all the other parts come from: be/lie at the root of: Foucault is challenging the very root of 20th century liberalism.
5 FAMILY CONNECTION sb's roots your connection with a place because you were born there, or your family used to live there: Naita has come to Ghana in search of her roots.
6 put down roots if you put down roots somewhere, you start to feel that this place is your home and to have relationships with the people there
7 TOOTH/HAIR ETC the part of a tooth, hair etc that fixes it to the rest of your body
8 take root
a) if an idea takes root, people begin to accept or believe it: The concepts of democracy and free trade are finally beginning to take root.
b) if a plant takes root, it starts to grow where you have planted it
9 have a (good) root round informal especially BrE to search for something by moving other things around
10 root and branch if you destroy something root and branch, you get rid of it completely and permanently because it is bad
11 LANGUAGE technical the basic part of a word which shows its main meaning, to which other parts can be added: The suffix `ness' can be added to the root `cold' to form the word `coldness'.
—compare stem 1 (4)
12 MATHEMATICS technical a number that when multiplied by itself a certain number of times, equals the number that you have: 2 is the fourth root of 16.
—see also: cube root, square root, grass roots 2 verb
1 SEARCH (intransitive always + adv/prep) to search for something by moving things around
(+ through/in/around): “Hang on a second,” said Leila, rooting through her handbag for a pen. (+ for): pigs rooting for food
a) (I) to grow roots: New shrubs will root easily in summer.
b) (transitive usually passive) to fix a plant firmly by its roots: The bush was too firmly rooted in the hard earth to dig up easily. | root itself: Clumps of thyme had rooted themselves between the rocks.
—see also: deeply rooted deeply (5)
3 be rooted in to have developed from something and be strongly influenced by it: policies that are rooted in Marxist economic theory
4 be rooted to the spot to be so shocked, surprised, or frightened that you cannot move
root for sb phrasal verb (T) informal
1 to give support and encouragement to someone in a competition, test or difficult situation, because you want them to succeed: Good luck - we'll all be rooting for you!
2 especially AmE to support a sports team or player by shouting and cheering: We'll all be rooting for the Dallas Cowboys in the Superbowl.
root sth out phrasal verb (T)
1 to find out where a particular kind of problem exists and get rid of it: Racism cannot be rooted out without strong government action.
2 informal to find something by searching for it: I'll try and root out something suitable for you to wear.
root sth up phrasal verb (T) to dig or pull a plant up with its roots

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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