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grassroots

[gras-roots, -roo ts, grahs-] /ˈgræsˌruts, -ˌrʊts, ˈgrɑs-/
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
1910-1915
1910-15 Americanism for def 1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for grass roots

grass roots

plural noun
1.
  1. 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
  2. (as modifier): the newly elected MP expressed a wish for greater contact with people at grass-roots level
2.
the origin or essentials
Word Origin
C20: sense 1 originally US, with reference to rural areas in contrast to the towns
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for grass roots
n.

1766, literally; figurative use from 1901 in sense "fundamental level;" U.S. political sense of "the rank and file of the electorate" is attested from 1912; also grassroots.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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6
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