root of the matter, the

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

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 of the matter, the

The essence of something; the true basis or cause. This term appears in the Bible (Job 19:28): “Why persecute him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?” It is still used as a metaphor for the ultimate cause.
See also: of, root