The root is the part of the plant that's underground. Dig up a potato, and you will unearth its roots. Just pull them off before you cook the potato.

Root comes from the Latin word radix, which means "starting point," and you can think of the root of something as the place it starts from, whether that's the root of a tree, or the root of a problem. The root of your fear of swimming might have been a scary shark attack movie. If your ancestors come from Guatemala, you have Guatemalan roots. If you dig through a pile of junk, you're "rooting around."

Definitions of root
  1. noun
    (botany) the usually underground organ that lacks buds or leaves or nodes; absorbs water and mineral salts; usually it anchors the plant to the ground
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    the aromatic root of the sweet flag used medicinally
    cocoyam, dasheen, eddo, taro
    edible starchy tuberous root of taro plants
    aromatic root of ginseng plants
    horseradish, horseradish root
    the root of the horseradish plant; it is grated or ground and used for seasoning
    pungent edible root of any of various cultivated radish plants
    chicory, chicory root
    the dried root of the chicory plant: used as a coffee substitute
    oyster plant, salsify
    edible root of the salsify plant
    Hottentot bread, Hottentot's bread
    thick edible rootstock of elephant's-foot
    hard woody root of the briar Erica arborea
    orris, orrisroot
    fragrant rootstock of various irises especially Florentine iris; used in perfumes and medicines
    sarsaparilla root
    dried root of any of various plants of the genus Smilax used as a flavoring agent
    licorice root
    root of licorice used in flavoring e.g. candy and liqueurs and medicines
    dried root of two plants of the genus Polygala containing an irritating saponin
    mandrake, mandrake root
    the root of the mandrake plant; used medicinally or as a narcotic
    cassava, manioc
    cassava root eaten as a staple food after drying and leaching; source of tapioca
    deep orange edible root of the cultivated carrot plant
    the whitish root of cultivated parsnip
    an air-filled root (submerged or exposed) that can function as a respiratory organ of a marsh or swamp plant
    (botany) main root of a plant growing straight downward from the stem
    adventitious root
    root growing in an unusual location e.g. from a stem
    small root or division of a root
    prop root
    a root that grows from and supports the stem above the ground in plants such as mangroves
    type of:
    plant organ
    a functional and structural unit of a plant or fungus
  2. noun
    the part of a tooth that is embedded in the jaw and serves as support
    synonyms: tooth root
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    type of:
    anatomical structure, bodily structure, body structure, complex body part, structure
    a particular complex anatomical part of a living thing
  3. verb
    take root and begin to grow
    “this plant roots quickly”
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    type of:
    become larger, greater, or bigger; expand or gain
  4. verb
    plant by the roots
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    type of:
    plant, set
    put or set (seeds, seedlings, or plants) into the ground
  5. verb
    cause to take roots
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    type of:
    cause to grow or develop
  6. verb
    become settled or established and stable in one's residence or life style
    synonyms: settle, settle down, steady down, take root
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    settle down or stay, as if on a roost
    type of:
    stabilise, stabilize
    become stable or more stable
  7. noun
    the place where something begins, where it springs into being
    “communism's Russian root
    synonyms: beginning, origin, rootage, source
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    the source or origin from which something derives (i.e. comes or issues)
    a point at which water issues forth
    fountainhead, head, headspring
    the source of water from which a stream arises
    the source of a river
    wellhead, wellspring
    the source of water for a well
    jumping-off place, point of departure
    a place from which an enterprise or expedition is launched
    birthplace, cradle, place of origin, provenance, provenience
    where something originated or was nurtured in its early existence
    place where something began and flourished
    point source
    a concentrated source (especially of radiation or pollution) that is spatially constricted
    trail head, trailhead
    the beginning of a trail
    type of:
    the precise location of something; a spatially limited location
  8. noun
    someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent)
    synonyms: ancestor, antecedent, ascendant, ascendent
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    descendant, descendent
    a person considered as descended from some ancestor or race
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    a woman ancestor
    forbear, forebear
    a person from whom you are descended
    father, forefather, sire
    the founder of a family
    a woman ancestor
    primogenitor, progenitor
    an ancestor in the direct line
    a natural father or mother
    a parent of your father or mother
    great grandparent
    a parent of your grandparent
    any of the early biblical characters regarded as fathers of the human race
    type of:
    relation, relative
    a person related by blood or marriage
  9. noun
    a simple form inferred as the common basis from which related words in several languages can be derived by linguistic processes
    synonyms: etymon
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    type of:
    descriptor, form, signifier, word form
    the phonological or orthographic sound or appearance of a word that can be used to describe or identify something
  10. noun
    (linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed
    synonyms: base, radical, root word, stem, theme
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    type of:
    descriptor, form, signifier, word form
    the phonological or orthographic sound or appearance of a word that can be used to describe or identify something
  11. verb
    come into existence, originate
    “The problem roots in her depression”
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    type of:
    come into existence
  12. noun
    a number that, when multiplied by itself some number of times, equals a given number
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    square root
    a number that when multiplied by itself equals a given number
    cube root
    a number that when multiplied three times equals a given number
    type of:
    a concept of quantity involving zero and units
  13. noun
    the set of values that give a true statement when substituted into an equation
    synonyms: solution
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    type of:
    (mathematics) an abstract collection of numbers or symbols
  14. verb
    dig with the snout
    “the pig was rooting for truffles”
    synonyms: rootle, rout
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    type of:
    cut into, delve, dig, turn over
    turn up, loosen, or remove earth
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