General English


  • noun a fractional power of a number


  • noun a part of a plant which is usually under the ground and absorbs water and nutrients from the surrounding soil
  • verb to produce roots

Cars & Driving

  • noun the lowest point of a screw thread.


  • noun the starting node from which all paths branch in a data tree structure



  • The top level within a hierarchy. For example, a root directory.
  • A computer user with access to all levels of operation. Such a user, for instance, can perform tasks at the system level. Also called root user, or superuser.


  • noun an underground plant part that is used as a vegetable, e.g. a carrot or turnip


  • noun a point from which a part of the body grows
  • noun part of a tooth which is connected to a socket in the jaw


  • noun a cigarette or joint. A rare term which may originate in ‘cheroot’.
  • noun the penis, in playground parlance
  • verb to have sex (with). A vulgar euphemism which occurs in working-class English speech and which is common in Australia. It derives from the archaic use of root to mean the penis and from ‘root/rootle around’ in the sense of searching in crevices. The term, first recorded in the 19th century but probably older, is hardly ever used in a homosexual context or by women.

Origin & History of “root”

Root of a plant (OE) and root ‘dig with the nose’ (14th c.) are distinct words. The former was borrowed from Old Norse rót, which goes back ultimately to the Indo-European base *wrd-. this also produced Latin rādīx ‘root’, source of English radical, radish, etc. Root ‘dig’ is an alteration of an earlier wroot, which went back to Old English wrōtan. It is usually assumed that root ‘cheer, support’, which first emerged in America in the late 19th century, is the same word.