strike at the root of

strike at the root of (something)

To attack the central part or most crucial element of something; to attack the part that allows something to function. By cracking down on the opium trade, the task force is hoping to strike at the root of terrorist funding in the region. These are all short-term solutions; we need to strike at the root of the homelessness crisis.
See also: of, root, strike

strike at the root (or roots) of

have a potentially destructive effect on.
See also: of, root, strike
References in classic literature ?
There is a certain class of unbelievers who sometimes ask me such questions as, if I think that I can live on vegetable food alone; and to strike at the root of the matter at once -- for the root is faith -- I am accustomed to answer such, that I can live on board nails.
Perhaps it will be too late," said Gondy, still unmoved; "perhaps I shall have lost all influence; while by giving up Broussel your majesty will strike at the root of the sedition and will gain the right to punish severely any revival of the revolt.
Does not the attempt to purify the spirit of the family and to maintain the sanctity of family ties strike at the root of the evil?
If the idea is to strike at the root of xenophobia and build friendships, not merely tolerate the differences, then surely secularism needs to have a wider canvas than merely being obsessed with the way state deals with the issue of religious differences.
Namo and his National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, believed that they would strike at the root of Kashmiri unrest with pellet guns, then by tying an innocent voter on to the bonnet of an army jeep.
A few clubs even went to the extent of using the team's poor performance as one of the major tools to strike at the root of the Sultanate's soccer -- the Oman Football Association (OFA) board, demanding an extra-ordinary meeting with the aim of bringing down the body.
The ultimate aim was to strike at the root of domestic violence these women suffered at the hands of inebriated men.
Somu Kumar, a volunteer of P and resident of DC said: "Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday mentioned that if this order is implemented, it will strike at the root of the political system.
To achieve our common objective to end impunity, let us unite to strike at the root of the problem.
10 Billion annually on account of tax evasion, smuggling and counterfeiting blamed on government failure to strike at the root of the ill.
Actions of this sort that strike at the root of the trust people have in the ambulance service can only be dealt with by a custodial sentence.
We obviously need to strike at the root of the problem, which requires us to redefine the basic principles of the system.
However, this plan will hopefully strike at the root of the problem - by making shopkeepers think twice about providing booze to children in the first place - a move that can only be good for the youngsters' health.
While such proposals should be applauded as important steps forward, they do not strike at the root of the problem.
For gender issues to be said to be effectively addressed in the WSIS process, strategies and solutions for achieving gender equality must strike at the root of unequal power relations--not just between men and women, but also more fundamentally between rich and poor, North and South, urban and rural, empowered and marginalised.