[gras-roots, -roo ts, grahs-]
- the common or ordinary people, especially as contrasted with the leadership or elite of a political party, social organization, etc.; the rank and file.
- the agricultural and rural areas of a country.
- the people inhabiting these areas, especially as a political, social, or economic group.
- the origin or basis of something; the basic or primary concept, rule, part, or the like.
- of, relating to, or involving the common people, especially as contrasted with or separable from an elite: a grassroots movement for nuclear disarmament.
Origin of grassroots
1910–15 Americanism for def 1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
- (as modifier)the newly elected MP expressed a wish for greater contact with people at grass-roots level
- the origin or essentials
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
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper