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[tap-root, -roo t] /ˈtæpˌrut, -ˌrʊt/
noun, Botany
a main root descending downward from the radicle and giving off small lateral roots.
Origin of taproot
1595-1605; tap2 + root1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for taproot
  • Pull dandelions while they're small, before they produce a taproot and set seed.
  • Wild chervil is difficult to control because of its extremely deep taproot and its resistance to herbicides.
  • Wild parsnip has a long, cone-shaped fleshy thick taproot.
  • Hand pulling that removes the taproot may be practical for managing small populations.
  • The majority of the taproot has to be removed to prevent regrowth.
  • It has a large, woody taproot with fibrous rhizomes that form a dense mat.
  • Other trees, such as the elm or maple, do not have a dominant taproot.
  • Growing from a deep taproot, its upright stems have numerous spreading branches giving the plant a ball shape.
  • It sends down a fast growing taproot which enables it to obtain moisture from many levels.
  • It is a low growing shrubby plant that grows from a woody crown and taproot.
British Dictionary definitions for taproot


the large single root of plants such as the dandelion, which grows vertically downwards and bears smaller lateral roots
Derived Forms
taprooted, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from tap² + root1
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 taproot

c.1600, from tap (n.) + root (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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taproot in Science
  (tāp'rt', -rt')   

The main root in gymnosperms, eudicotyledons, and magnoliids, usually stouter than the lateral roots and growing straight downward from the stem. The taproot develops from the primary root. The taproot and its lateral roots penetrate deeper into the soil than the fibrous roots characteristic of monocotyledons. Compare fibrous root.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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taproot in Culture

taproot definition

The single deep root of many deciduous trees that forms the basis for their root systems.

Note: Figuratively, a “taproot” is the source of an idea or work: “His childhood in Wales is the taproot of his poetry.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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