Did you know?

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


 - definitions and thesaurus

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. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun root pronunciation in British English /ruːt/
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] the part of a plant that grows under the ground, through which the plant gets water and food

    Olive trees have deep roots.

  2. 3


    [plural] 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.

    1. a.
      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.

  3. 4
    [countable] a basic cause or idea

    an unusual film with an ingenious idea at its root

    root of:

    We need to get to the root of the problem.

  4. 7
    [countable] music the note that forms the base of a chord in music
    Synonyms and related words



… a teaching method in which groups of children learn independently using a computer linked to the internet

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a derogatory word used for referring to people in the banking and investment industry who are thought of as taking serious risks in order to increase their own earnings …

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