Grass Roots

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Also: grassroots

Meaning of Idiom 'Grass Roots'

The grass roots means the basic level or the origin, especially the ordinary people in a country, association, trade, etc. 1,2

Usage

Today, the grass roots most often refers to the ordinary voters in a political party as opposed to the leadership or the elite. 2. The terms grassroots effort, grassroots movement, or grassroots campaign are often used to describe political or social efforts that use the ordinary people of a community, political party, etc. as the basis.

Examples:

"If we want to succeed," said the senator, "we have to get back to the grass roots."

"Despite the large amounts of money his opponent poured into the campaign, this candidate was able to win with a well-organized grass roots effort."

"The company has long been out of touch with the grassroots. It was only matter of time before the workers organized."

Origin

Used since approximately 1900. 2

Sources
1. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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