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[tap-root, -roo t] /ˈtæpˌrut, -ˌrʊt/
noun, Botany.
a main root descending downward from the radicle and giving off small lateral roots.
Origin of taproot
First recorded in 1595-1605; tap2 + root1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for tap-root


the large single root of plants such as the dandelion, which grows vertically downwards and bears smaller lateral roots
Derived Forms
taprooted, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from tap² + root1
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
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Word Origin and History for tap-root



c.1600, from tap (n.) + root (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tap-root in Science
  (tāp'rt', -rt')   

The main root in gymnosperms, eudicotyledons, and magnoliids, usually stouter than the lateral roots and growing straight downward from the stem. The taproot develops from the primary root. The taproot and its lateral roots penetrate deeper into the soil than the fibrous roots characteristic of monocotyledons. Compare fibrous root.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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tap-root in Culture

taproot definition

The single deep root of many deciduous trees that forms the basis for their root systems.

Note: Figuratively, a “taproot” is the source of an idea or work: “His childhood in Wales is the taproot of his poetry.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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