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n 1 a  :  the usu. underground part of a seed plant body that functions as an organ of absorption, aeration, and food storage or as a means of anchorage and support and that differs from a stem esp. in lacking nodes, buds, and leaves  b  :  any subterranean plant part (as a true root or a bulb, tuber, rootstock, or other modified stem) esp. when fleshy and edible  2 a (1) :  the part of a tooth within the socket (2) :  any of the processes into which the root of a tooth is often divided  b  :  the enlarged basal part of a hair within the skin - called also hair root   c  :  the proximal end of a nerve : esp  :  one or more bundles of nerve fibers joining the cranial and spinal nerves with their respective nuclei and columns of gray matter - see DORSAL ROOT VENTRAL ROOT   d  :  the part of an organ or physical structure by which it is attached to the body <the of the tongue>  root*less adj 

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