- Uproot (someone) from their natural geographical, social, or cultural environment.
“My great-great-grandparents deracinated the family from their home country to search for a better life elsewhere.”
“I want to move over the summer so we don’t have to deracinate the kids from school too much.”
“The new development has been paused because the construction would deracinate a protected species of birds.”
French, late 16th century
Why this word?
“Deracinate” has roots (pun intended) in French — it comes from “dé-” (expressing removal) and “racine” (meaning “root”). It translates literally to “removing roots.” In metaphorical usage, “deracinate” (a verb used with an object) means “to uproot someone or something from their cultural, social, or geographical environment.” It’s not quite going out in the garden and pulling dandelions; rather, it applies to plucking people or things out of their comfort zones. Sometimes a deracination (the noun form) is for positive change and growth, but other times it’s more forcible.
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