What does the idiom "put down roots" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase put down roots, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression put down roots used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "put down roots"


The phrase "put down roots" is used to talk about the act of establishing a permanent home or residence in a particular place. It is also used metaphorically to suggest the development of emotional connections and strong ties with a person, group or place. It implies that one prepares to stay in the place for a long duration, and truly make it home.


The phrase “put down roots” was first used in the English language in the 19th century. It likely originates from the idea of planting a tree and hence, “putting down” its root system into the ground. This is analogous to one who seeks to establish a home and “put down roots” in a place. Additionally, the use of “roots” suggests deep connections to the place in question, both physically and metaphysically.


“Put down roots” is not only used in the literal sense to describe setting up a home, but it is also used in a more figurative way. As mentioned previously, it is used to imply the establishment of emotional ties with a person or a place. This can be seen in the phrase’s use in literature and other forms of media, such as song lyrics and movie dialogues. Additionally, one can hear the phrase used in everyday conversations between friends and family.

Example Sentences

  • After travelling around the world for a few years, Paul decided to finally put down roots in a quiet town in the countryside.
  • Many immigrants come to America with the hopes of putting down roots and starting a new life.
  • The couple has been in the same town for nearly 40 years now, and they have definitely put down roots.
  • After a few rough years in college, Sally was finally ready to put down roots and focus on her studies.

The meanings of the words in the "put down roots" idiom

Idioms with similar meanings in different languages

"Barking up the wrong tree" is an English idiom that means to pursue a mistaken or misguided course of action. In German, the similar idiom is "Auf dem Holzweg sein," which translates to "To be on the wrong track." This idiom emphasizes the idea that when you are pursuing the wrong course of action, you are not going to achieve your desired outcome.


No comment has been written about put down roots yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply