[gras-roots, -roo ts, grahs-]
noun (used with a singular or plural verb) Also grass roots.
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.
adjective Also grass-roots.
of, relating to, or involving the common people, especially as contrasted with or separable from an elite: a grassroots movement for nuclear disarmament.
O Say Can You Hear? A Look at Our National Anthem’s Poetic Roots
The Poem that Inspired an Anthem The “Star-Spangled Banner” was adopted as our national anthem in 1931, and its soaring melody and densely packed lyrics have been tripping up those tasked with performing it ever since. The song has an unusual syntax because it was originally a poem, written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. While the Star-Spangled Banner is one of the more famous …
Find new words to share every day with Dictionary.com's Word of the Day. Discover the definition, pronunciation, and origin of uncommon words plus more!
Origin of grassroots
1910–15 Americanism for def 1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
- 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
Word Origin for grass roots
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
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