root

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the crux of the matter

The focal, central, or most important element of a topic, problem, or issue. Over the course of this trial, the prosecution intends to get to the crux of the matter regarding this company's shady financial dealings.
See also: crux, matter, of

root cause

The most fundamental, central, or basic causal element of something. Violence in this part of town is rampant, but the root cause is really poverty and the wide distribution of narcotics. You're never going to solve your company's financial issues if you can't identify the root cause of your flagging sales.
See also: cause, root

rooting interest

A strong desire to support a particular person or group. Primarily heard in US. My brother is a huge sports fan and has a rooting interest in all our local teams. I have a rooting interest in that candidate and am going to be campaigning for her.
See also: interest, root

the root of the matter

The most important, basic, or fundamental essence or elements of an issue, problem, or matter at hand. Thank you all for attending this staff meeting. Before we get to the root of the matter, I'd like to assure each of you that your jobs are secure. Here's the root of the matter, Bill: we feel you've not been meeting the standards of work that we should be expecting of you in recent weeks.
See also: matter, of, root

*the crux of the matter

 and *the root of the matter;
See also: crux, matter, of

Idleness is the root of all evil.

Prov. If you have no useful work to do, you will think of harmful things to do in order to amuse yourself. (Compare this with Money is the root of all evil.) Child: Why do you make me do so many chores? Father: Idleness is the root of all evil.
See also: all, evil, of, root

Money is the root of all evil.

 and The love of money is the root of all evil.
Prov. People do many evil things in order to get rich. (Biblical. Compare this with Idleness is the root of all evil.) Fred: I know I could make more money if I just knew the right things to invest in. Ellen: Don't worry so much about money. It's the root of all evil, after all. As the newspapers continued to report the dastardly things the wealthy young banker had done to become even wealthier, people shook their heads and remarked, "The love of money is the root of all evil."
See also: all, evil, money, of, root

put roots down (some place)

to settle down somewhere; to make a place one's permanent home. I'm not ready to put roots down anywhere yet. I'm ready to put down roots someplace. I want to settle down. I want to put roots down and buy a house.
See also: down, put, root

root around (for something)

to dig or shuffle in or through something, looking for something. Alice rooted around in her desk drawer for a pen. I'll root around here and see if I can find it.
See also: around, root

root for someone or something

to cheer and encourage someone or something. Are you rooting for anyone in particular, or are you just shouting because you're excited? I'm rooting for the home team.the root of the matter Go to the crux of the matter.
See also: root

*root of the problem

an understanding of the causes or basis of a problem. (*Typically: determine ~; figure out ~; find ~; get to ~; get at ~.) It will take a little more study to get to the root of the problem. Let's stop avoiding the issue and get at the root of the problem.
See also: of, problem, root

root someone or something out of something

 and root someone or something out
to seek and remove someone or something from something or some place; to seek to discover or bring something to light. The committee wanted to root all the lazy people out of the club. The manager rooted out all the deadwood.
See also: of, out, root

root something in something

to start a plant growing roots in something. I tried to root the plants in sand, but they died. You have to root this kind of tree in very rich soil.
See also: root

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.
See also: out, root

root something up

[for a pig] to find something in the ground by digging with its nose. The pigs will root your plants up if they get out of their pen. The pigs will root up your plants if they get out of their pen.
See also: root, up

rooted in something

based on something; connected to a source or cause. The civil war was rooted in old cultural hatred. This fictional book was rooted in actual events.
See also: root

*rooted to something

[of someone] firmly attached to something. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) She is firmly rooted to her homeland and has no intention of emigrating. The farmer is rooted to the land and will not leave.
See also: root

*rooted to the spot

Fig. unable to move because of fear or surprise. (*Typically: appear to be ~; be ~;become ~.) Jane stood rooted to the spot when she saw the ghostly figure. Mary stood rooted to the spot when the thief snatched her bag.
See also: root, spot

take root

 
1. Lit. [for a plant] to develop roots in soil or some other growing medium. The new plants should take root in a few weeks and start growing.
2. Fig. to begin to take hold or have effect. Things will begin to change when my new policies take root. My ideas began to take root and influence other people.
See also: root, take

put down roots

Settle somewhere, become established, as in We've put down roots here and don't want to move away. This metaphoric expression, first recorded in 1921, likens the rooting of a plant to human settlement.
See also: down, put, root

root and branch

Utterly, completely, as in The company has been transformed root and branch by the new management. Alluding to both the underground and aboveground parts of a tree, this idiom was first recorded in 1640.
See also: and, branch, root

rooted to the spot

Not moving, especially owing to some strong emotion. For example, When the truck bore down on the dog, he was terrified and stood rooted to the spot. This idiom likens the roots of a plant to a strong feeling that keeps one from moving.
See also: root, spot

root for

Cheer on, give moral support to, as in The fans were out rooting for their team, or I've been rooting for you to get that promotion. This expression may come from the British verb rout, which is used of cattle and means "bellow." [Late 1800s]
See also: root

root of the matter

The essential part or cause of something, as in We still don't understand what happened; we must get to the root of the matter. This expression was first recorded in the Bible (Job 19:28).
See also: matter, of, root

root 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]
See also: out, root

take root

Become established or fixed, as in We're not sure how the movement took root, but it did so very rapidly. This idiom transfers the establishment of a plant, whose roots settle into the earth, to other matters. [Late 1500s]
See also: root, take

the grass roots

COMMON The grass roots of an organization or movement are the ordinary people who form the main part of it, rather than its leaders. The revolution is actually coming from the grass roots and I think eventually the authorities will follow. This was a truly socialist party, ultimately controlled by its grass roots. Note: Grass-roots or grassroots can be used before a noun. The proposal is backed by grass-roots activists. The president won the election after a grassroots campaign. The leadership has become detached from what's going on at grassroots level.
See also: grass, root

money is the root of all evil

People say money is the root of all evil when they want to suggest that greed is the cause of a particular problem or the cause of society's problems in general. They say money is the root of all evil and cases like this seem to suggest it's true. Note: Other nouns are sometimes used instead of money to suggest that these things are the cause of a problem. Greed may not be the root of all evil, but it is certainly behind many conflicts, from schoolyard fights to full-scale wars. Note: This expression comes from the proverb the love of money is the root of all evil. If ever we want evidence that the love of money is the root of all evil, we only have to look at the human cost of many monetary policies and decisions. Note: This proverb comes from a letter in the Bible from St. Paul to his disciple Timothy. (1 Timothy 6:10)
See also: all, evil, money, of, root

root and branch

COMMON If something is changed or reformed root and branch, it is changed or reformed completely, so that none of the old or traditional parts remain. These genuinely radical measures should change our economic system root and branch. Note: A root-and-branch reform, change or examination is a complete reform, change or examination. The Chief Inspector of Prisons called for root and branch reform of the prison system yesterday. The government has embarked on a root and branch review of the future of student finance. Note: In 1641 the Root and Branch Bill abolishing the government of the church by bishops was presented to the English Parliament. Those who supported the bill were known as `root-and-branch men', and the term has been used to refer to reform ever since.
See also: and, branch, root

take root

COMMON If an idea or belief takes root, it becomes established or begins to develop. That was when the idea of starting up his own picture library began to take root. Green politics have taken firm root in Alsace, where the Green Party have a chance of gaining two seats.
See also: root, take

put down roots

1. If you put down roots, you make a place your home, for example by making friends and taking part in activities there. Servicemen and women are rarely in the same place long enough to put down roots and buy their own home. When they got to Montana they stayed and put down roots.
2. If something puts down roots somewhere, it becomes firmly established there, so that it is likely to last and to be successful in the future. The party increased its share of the poll and also put down roots in areas where it had previously been weak or even non-existent. Democracy is finally putting down roots in the region.
See also: down, put, root

root for

v.
1. To dig in the earth with or as if with the snout or a paw in order to find something: The pigs rooted for truffles.
2. To lend encouragement and support to someone or something: We all rooted for our school's football team.
See also: root

root in

v.
1. To cause something, as a plant, to grow roots in something: The gardener rooted the plant in good soil.
2. To have something as a primary source or origin. Used in the passive: Homelessness is very often rooted in poverty. The word "tantalize" is rooted in Greek mythology.
See also: root

root out

v.
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!
See also: out, root

root up

v.
1. To remove something by the roots: We had to root up the tree stumps in our new yard. Let's root these weeds up before it rains.
2. To unearth or expose some cause, solution, or basis: The public health officials rooted up the cause of the pandemic. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm sure we can root it up on the Internet.
See also: root, up

grassroots

1. n. the common people, especially rural people. We really haven’t heard anything from the grassroots yet.
2. mod. having to do with or originating with the common people. A grassroots movement pushed Senator Del Monte toward the nomination.

root

1. n. a cigarette or a cigar. That root you’re smoking sure stinks.
2. in. to eat food like a pig. Bart is downstairs rooting now. It won’t take that slob long to eat.

rooting-tooting

mod. exciting; renown; famous; illustrious. (A vague adjective of praise.) We really had a rooting-tooting time last weekend.

put down roots

To establish a permanent residence in a locale.
See also: down, put, root

root and branch

Utterly; completely: The organization has been transformed root and branch by its new leaders.
See also: and, branch, root

take root

1. To become established or fixed.
2. To become rooted.
See also: root, take