Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: root around.

root around. “Root around” (= to poke about) is preferably so spelled — not *”rout around” or *”route around.” But the illogical slips are fairly common — e.g.: o “Maybe he should rout [read ‘root’] around in the attic for that pirate flag.” “The Fall of an American Icon,” BusinessWeek, 5 Feb. 1996, at 34. o “Some of these [hotels] are available via Planet Hawaii, though users might have to route [read ‘root’] around for them.” Donna Marino, “Surfing the ‘Net,'” Tour & Travel News, 8 May 1995, at 44. To “route around” is to establish a route that bypasses something — e.g.: “Meanwhile, doctors began perfecting bypass surgery, in which a blood vessel is grafted into position to route around a clogged artery.” Eric B. Schoch, “Helping Heal Heartache,” Indianapolis Star, 2 Feb. 1997, at C1. Language-Change Index — “root around” misspelled *”rout around” or *”route around”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “The writer’s obsessive love of words is a source of suffering, but of suffering that he will never regret.” Konstantin Fedin, “Notebook,” in Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Alexei Tolstoy, and Konstantin Fedin on the Art and Craft of Writing 256, 257 (Alex Miller trans., 1972).
Scroll to Top