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grassroots

[gras-roots, -roo ts, grahs-]
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noun (used with a singular or plural verb) Also grass roots.
  1. the common or ordinary people, especially as contrasted with the leadership or elite of a political party, social organization, etc.; the rank and file.
  2. the agricultural and rural areas of a country.
  3. the people inhabiting these areas, especially as a political, social, or economic group.
  4. the origin or basis of something; the basic or primary concept, rule, part, or the like.
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adjective Also grass-roots.
  1. of, relating to, or involving the common people, especially as contrasted with or separable from an elite: a grassroots movement for nuclear disarmament.
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Origin of grassroots

1910–15 Americanism for def 1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for grass roots

grass roots

pl n
    1. the ordinary people as distinct from the active leadership of a party or organization: used esp of the rank-and-file members of a political party, or of the voters themselves
    2. (as modifier)the newly elected MP expressed a wish for greater contact with people at grass-roots level
  1. the origin or essentials
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Word Origin

C20: sense 1 originally US, with reference to rural areas in contrast to the towns
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for grass roots

n.

1766, literally; figurative use from 1901 in sense "fundamental level;" U.S. political sense of "the rank and file of the electorate" is attested from 1912; also grassroots.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper