Grass roots

grassroots

[gras-roots, -roots, grahs-]
noun (used with a singular or plural verb) . Also, grass roots.
1.
the common or ordinary people, especially as contrasted with the leadership or elite of a political party, social organization, etc.; the rank and file.
2.
the agricultural and rural areas of a country.
3.
the people inhabiting these areas, especially as a political, social, or economic group.
4.
the origin or basis of something; the basic or primary concept, rule, part, or the like.
adjective Also, grass-roots.
5.
of, pertaining to, or involving the common people, especially as contrasted with or separable from an elite: a grassroots movement for nuclear disarmament.

Origin:
1910–15 Americanism for def 1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
grass roots
 
pl n
1.  a.  the ordinary people as distinct from the active leadership of a party or organization: used esp of the rank-and-file members of a political party, or of the voters themselves
 b.  (as modifier): the newly elected MP expressed a wish for greater contact with people at grass-roots level
2.  the origin or essentials
 
[C20: sense 1 originally US, with reference to rural areas in contrast to the towns]

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