Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun American English pronunciation: root /rut/ 
Word Forms
  1. 3


    [plural] the place, culture, or family that someone comes from originally

    Computerizing these old records will help people trace their roots.

    go back to your roots:

    With this latest book the author goes back to his Scottish roots.

    1. a.
      the origins or background of something

      What are the historical roots of the region's problems?

      have its roots in something:

      The Association has its roots in the early 1950s.

  2. 4
    [countable] a basic cause or idea

    an unusual movie with an ingenious idea at its root

    root of:

    We need to get to the root of the problem.

dark pool

a method of financial trading in which share prices are hidden and not openly available to the public

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day


an extra sail sometimes fitted on the front of a boat used for racing

Open Dictionary


to post a tweet, usually a negative one, that mentions a person without using the @ sign, so that they will not see the message on their Twitter feed …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog