root (something) out

root (something) out

1. To seek out and find after close inspection or thorough investigation. Unfortunately, we had to look through each file in the system to root out the true problem.
2. To find something at its source and incapacitate or destroy it. It turns out that the exterminator didn't root the termites completely the first time. The new mayor has vowed to root out street crime.
See also: out, 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 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

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