[tap-root, -root]
noun Botany.
a main root descending downward from the radicle and giving off small lateral roots.

1595–1605; tap2 + root1

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World English Dictionary
taproot (ˈtæpˌruːt)
the large single root of plants such as the dandelion, which grows vertically downwards and bears smaller lateral roots
[C17: from tap² + root1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

c.1600, from tap (n.) + root (n.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
taproot   (tāp'rt', -rt')  Pronunciation Key 

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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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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Example sentences
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
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