[ tap-root, -root ]

  1. a main root descending downward from the radicle and giving off small lateral roots.

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Origin of taproot

First recorded in 1595–1605; tap2 + root1

Words Nearby taproot

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use taproot in a sentence

  • Some of them had sent down a taproot nearly or quite three inches in length.

  • The root of evil, the taproot from which the evils of modern society develop, is the profit idea.

  • In truth, the leading foible of Hodgkinson through life, was vanity—the great taproot of all his irregularities and errors.

  • By the following autumn, the better seedlings will have ten or twelve inches of top, and two and a half or three feet of taproot.

    The Pecan and its Culture | H. Harold Hume
  • In normally developed trees of the same age, the taproot would have been three or four feet long.

    The Pecan and its Culture | H. Harold Hume

British Dictionary definitions for taproot


/ (ˈtæpˌruːt) /

  1. the large single root of plants such as the dandelion, which grows vertically downwards and bears smaller lateral roots

Origin of taproot

C17: from tap ² + root 1

Derived forms of taproot

  • taprooted, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for taproot


[ tăprōōt′, -rut′ ]

  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for taproot


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

Notes for taproot

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.