root out

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root out

In each usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "root" and "out."
1. Literally, to tear, pull, or dig something from the ground by its roots. We'll have to root these old trees out before we can begin any work on the new foundation. The dog got into my garden and started rooting out all my flowers.
2. To seek out and identify something after close inspection or thorough investigation. Unfortunately, we had to look through each file in the system to root out the true problem.
3. To find something at its source and incapacitate or destroy it. It turns out that the exterminator didn't root the termites out completely the first time. The new mayor has vowed to root out street crime.
See also: out, root
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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