Green’s Dictionary of Slang

root v.

1. in senses of aggression.

(a) to kick a ball or a person.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 21 Sept. 1/1: The fellows who root, boot and biff [...] under such soubriquets as ‘Stinker’ Stubbs and ‘Dosser’ Dingo.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Oct. 28/2: Yarraville impressed its superiority on ’Scray from the start, and thereby so depressed Elizabeth and William aforesaid that after a few preliminary adjurations to ‘Root ’em up, Juniors!’ ‘Slob into it, you blitherers!’ they relapsed into moody and depressing silence.
[UK]‘Ian Hay’ Lighter Side of School Life 52: We rooted Sowerby afterwards for grinning.
M. Marples Public School Slang 105: KICK: boot, [...] hoof(Forest, 1920+), punt (Malvern, 1902+) [...] root (St Lawrence’s, 1919+; Stonyhurst, 1920 +, etc.), [...] toe (Colston’s, 1887), turf (Harrow, 1906+).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 180/2: Root. To kick. ‘If that broad (girl) puts the horns on me (cuckolds) me, I’ll root her out on her biscuit (rump).’.

(b) (US) to attack.

[US]Van Loan ‘Sporting Doctor’ Taking the Count 51: You watch me root into the old champ; he’ll know that he’s been to a barbecue.

(c) (Aus.) to throw off.

[Aus]K.S. Prichard Haxby’s Circus 183: You don’t want to let a horse feel your weight over her kidneys. Beauty’s all right but Bonnie’ll root you.

2. (US campus) to act as a sycophant in the hope of favours and career advancement.

[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 396: He held, indeed, all those little arts of underhand address by which patronage and preferment are so frequently pursued, in supreme contempt. He was not of a nature to root.

3. (US campus) to work hard.

[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 396: root 2. to study hard.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 55: root, v. To study hard.
[US]Wood & Goddard Dict. Amer. Sl. 44: root. To work loudly for anything. Hence, rooter.

4. (US Und.) to steal.

[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 81: ‘You’d think he was doin’ him a big favor lettin' him in wit’ it for a rootin’ interest!’.
Jackson Dly News (MS) 1 Apr. 7/1: Crook Chatter [...] ‘I rooted into a ball park crowd for two “soupers” and a “prop”’.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 161: He was in good spirits and condition after ‘stopping his jolt’ in the stir and anxious to start ‘rooting.’.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl. 63: root, v. To rob at the point of a gun, to heist.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 196: root with the oliver To commit a crime while the moon is not shining.
[US]T. Runyon In For Life 86: One attracting the proprietor’s attention, while the other two ‘rooted’ [...] anything portable.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 816: rooting – Robbing.

5. in sexual contexts.

(a) to have sexual intercourse; also used as a euph. for fuck v. in a variety of similarly negative uses, e.g. to outwit, to baffle, to exhaust, to utterly confound (someone); thus rooting adj.; thus excl. wouldn’t it root you? would you believe it?!

[[UK]Rosa Fielding 6: Susan Shuffle-bum had been seen behind a hayrick with her legs over young Squire Rootlepole’s back].
[US]Big Joe ‘Rootin’ Ground Hog’ [lyrics] I’m a rootin’ ground hog babe, I roots everywhere I go / Lay it on me boy, it’s bad!
[Aus]‘Lament to a Beaufort’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of the RAAF 19: Then starting is about as hard as rooting without balls.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 152: The authentic digger form is Wouldn’t it root you! A regimental paper ‘Wiry’ (1941) took its name from the first letters of the words in this phrase.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 244: ‘It looks as though we’re rooted, smacker,’ I told Herb.
in R. Chamberlain Stuart Affair (1973) 12: I took her bathers off. Then I raped her. She was hard to root.
[Aus]Baker Drum 140: Root, [...] to outwit, baffle, exhaust, utterly confound (someone). Whence, to be rooted, to be exhausted or confounded; get rooted! Go to blazes!
[Aus]P. White Solid Mandala (1976) 184: Come down by the water, brother [...] under oner those Moreton Bay ffiggs, and we’ll root together so good you’ll shoot out the other side of Christmas.
[Aus]Adamson & Hanford Zimmer’s Essay 55: [homosex. use] Larry, you little bitch [...] there’s time to root you four hundred times before the bell.
K. Cook Bloodhouse 110: We found this bloody little poofter down on the beach fiddling with a bird [...] Couldn’t even root her.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 35: What does she mean by rooting the arse off your best mate. [Ibid.] 116: Many is the brand new seersucker job I’ve left home in which was rooted twenty-four hours later.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 172: I think I’ve popped a bloody knuckle too, wouldn’t it root you?
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 70: Some girl who he had met [...] had turned out to be a mad raving case and was trying to root him into an early grave.
[NZ]O. Marshall ‘The Bank Section’ in Ace of Diamonds Gang 122: Always on about the size of his dawk and how he’s going to root Camille Brown.
[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] He’s got really amazing eyes. I’d root him.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 63: That’s how the Germans rooted ya. You were too busy [...] having ya bloody coffee.
[Aus]D. McDonald Luck in the Greater West (2008) 131: So I can’t even root my girlfriend when I feel like it.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] Dude, in my experience the best way to manipulate men is to not root them.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 21: I’m sensible enough not to shag or root any of them.

(b) (US gay prison) to fellate.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.

In derivatives

rootability (n.)

sexual potential.

[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] I wondered if it were possible for me to meet a man, any man, without instantly gauging his rootability.
rooty (adj.)

1. (US, also rooting) sexually aroused.

[UK]T.S. Eliot ‘Columbo & Bolo’ Inventions of the March Hare in Ricks (1996) 317: Now when they were three weeks at sea / Columbo he grew rooty / He took his cock in both his hands / And swore it was a beauty.
[US]C. Willingham End as a Man (1952) 126: Old man McKee used to get his share, too. He was the rootinest old fellow I ever saw, and I saw some real rooters back in those days.
[US]H. Miller Sexus (1969) 370: It was warm, very warm, and there was a hot dry wind blowing which made one nervous and rooty. [Ibid.] 388: I’m rooty. I could fuck forever.
[US]B. Hecht Gaily, Gaily 48: ‘You Goddamn rooty little bastard,’ she greeted me, ‘lookin’ to get put on a night like this! Come inside, you baby-faced tailer-lover.’ She walloped me on the back.

2. see also under root (for) v.

In compounds

In phrases

root (for) (v.)

see separate entry.

root, hog or die (v.)

see separate entry.

wouldn’t that root you

(Aus.) rhetorical interrogative phr, of disgust, amazement, etc.

[Aus]R.G. Barrett Rosa Marie’s Baby (2013) [ebook] Well, wouldn’t that root you, scowled Les.

In exclamations

get rooted!

(Aus.) a strongly dismissive excl., euph. for fuck off! excl., get fucked! excl.

[Aus]Baker Aus. Speaks.
[Aus]Baker Drum 140: Root, [...] to outwit, baffle, exhaust, utterly confound (someone). Whence, to be rooted, to be exhausted or confounded; get rooted! Go to blazes!
M. Calthorpe Dyehouse 186: ‘He can get rooted, for all I care,’ Collins said bitterly.
J. Summons Lamb of God 30: Get rooted. I can’t write in the bus. I’ll lend you mine to copy – you’ll get it right for a change.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 128: ‘You sure you don’t want to leave it [i.e. money] with me and I’ll send it up to you’ [...] ‘Go and get rooted’.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 49/2: get rooted! vigorous objection.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers xvi: And then he [...] went in and told his mother and the rest of the family - including the two fat uncles - to get rooted.
[Aus](con. 1945–6) P. Doyle Devil’s Jump (2008) 123: Get rooted. How do you know this concerns me?
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
root my boot! (also root my boot and shag my shoe! root your (mother’s) boot!)

(Aus.) a general expression of exasperation.

[Aus]J. Hibberd White with Wire Wheels (1973) 153: Root my boot. What a night. [Ibid.] 223: rod: Christ. mal: Root my boot and shag my shoe.
[Aus]B. Dickins Gift of Gab 5: ‘Gawd, it’s flamin’ rainin’?’ says Old Baldy... ‘Wouldn’t it root your boot?’ [AND].
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 94/1: root my boot! exclamation of astonishment or disbelief.
B. Reed ‘Messman on C.E.’s Altar’ in Passing Strange (2015) 23: ‘Get a mop or all of youse go root your mother’s boot’.
[Aus](con. 1945–6) P. Doyle Devil’s Jump (2008) 39: ‘Give us a drive, will you.’ ‘Go and root your boot,’ I said.
lionlikenick.diaryland.com 17 Mar. [Internet] I’ve never said ‘Root your boot’ in my entire life. I have no idea what that means. [...] I don’t understand why I’d use such a blatantly not-so-insulting stupid insult.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].