[ root, roo t ]
/ rut, rʊt /


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to become fixed or established.
Digital Technology. to manipulate the operating system of a smartphone, tablet, etc.Compare jailbreak(def 4).

Nearby words

  1. rooseveltian,
  2. roost,
  3. rooster,
  4. rooster tail,
  5. roosterfish,
  6. root amputation,
  7. root and branch,
  8. root beer,
  9. root canal,
  10. root canal therapy


    root and branch, utterly; entirely: to destroy something root and branch.
    take root,
    1. to send out roots; begin to grow.
    2. to become fixed or established: The prejudices of parents usually take root in their children.

Origin of root

before 1150; (noun) Middle English; late Old English rōt < Old Norse rōt; akin to Old English wyrt ‘plant’, wort2, German Wurzel, Latin rādīx (see radix), Greek rhíza (see rhizome); (v.) Middle English roten, rooten, derivative of the noun

Related formsroot·like, adjective

Can be confusedroot rout route Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for root-and-branch

British Dictionary definitions for root-and-branch



on a large scale or without discrimination; wholesaleroot-and-branch reforms

adverb root and branch

entirely; completely; utterlyBrazil needs reform root and branch


/ (ruːt) /



Derived Formsrooter, nounrootlike, adjectiverooty, adjectiverootiness, noun

Word Origin for root

Old English rōt, from Old Norse; related to Old English wyrt wort


/ (ruːt) /

verb (intr)

(of a pig) to burrow in or dig up the earth in search of food, using the snout
(foll by about, around, in etc) informal to search vigorously but unsystematically
Derived Formsrooter, noun

Word Origin for root

C16: changed (through influence of root 1) from earlier wroot, from Old English wrōtan; related to Old English wrōt snout, Middle Dutch wrōte mole




(intr usually foll by for) informal to give support to (a contestant, team, etc), as by cheering
Derived Formsrooter, noun

Word Origin for root

C19: perhaps a variant of Scottish rout to make a loud noise, from Old Norse rauta to roar

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 root-and-branch
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for root-and-branch


[ rōōt, rut ]


The embedded part of an organ or structure, such as a hair, tooth, or nerve, serving as a base or support.
A primary source; an origin; radix.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for root-and-branch


[ rōōt, rut ]

A plant part that usually grows underground, secures the plant in place, absorbs minerals and water, and stores food manufactured by leaves and other plant parts. Roots grow in a root system. Eudicots and magnoliids have a central, longer, and larger taproot with many narrower lateral roots branching off, while monocots have a mass of threadlike fibrous roots, which are roughly the same length and remain close to the surface of the soil. In vascular plants, roots usually consist of a central cylinder of vascular tissue, surrounded by the pericycle and endodermis, then a thick layer of cortex, and finally an outer epidermis or (in woody plants) periderm. Only finer roots (known as feeder roots) actively take up water and minerals, generally in the uppermost meter of soil. These roots absorb minerals primarily through small epidermal structures known as root hairs. In certain plants, adventitious roots grow out from the stem above ground as aerial roots or prop roots, bending down into the soil, to facilitate the exchange of gases or increase support. Certain plants (such as the carrot and beet) have fleshy storage roots with abundant parenchyma in their vascular tissues. See also fibrous root taproot.
Any of various other plant parts that grow underground, especially an underground stem such as a corm, rhizome, or tuber.
The part of a tooth that is embedded in the jaw and not covered by enamel.
  1. A number that, when multiplied by itself a given number of times, produces a specified number. For example, since 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 = 16, 2 is a fourth root of 16.
  2. A solution to an equation. For example, a root of the equation x2 - 4 = 0 is 2, since 22 - 4 = 0.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for root-and-branch


In biology, the part of a plant that grows downward and holds the plant in place, absorbs water and minerals from the soil, and often stores food. The main root of a plant is called the primary root; others are called secondary roots. The hard tip is called the root cap, which protects the growing cells behind it. Root hairs increase the root's absorbing surface.


The part of a tooth below the gum. The root anchors the tooth to the jawbone.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with root-and-branch


In addition to the idioms beginning with root

  • root and branch
  • rooted to the spot
  • root for
  • root of the matter
  • root out

also see:

  • put down roots
  • take root
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.