Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
root something out
to get rid of something completely; to destroy something to its roots or core. No government will ever root out crime completely. The principal wants to root out troublemakers at the local school.
root out somethingalso root something out
to find and remove a problem She promises to root out corruption in state government. Retreating forces can blend into the landscape, making it more difficult to root them out.
Search for, seek to discover, as in He was trying to root out the reason for her long absence. This idiom alludes to the way hogs dig by using their snouts. [Mid-1800s]
1. To uncover or expose the source of something: The government agents rooted out the source of the drug money. The mayor hated corruption and vowed to root it out.
2. To incapacitate or destroy something at its source: The exterminator was unable to root out the last few mice from the kitchen. The gophers are making a mess of the lawn—we need to root them out!