“Rooting for you” is a very old and popular English idiom that can be used in a variety of situations and circumstances. Even if you don’t know exactly what it means or how to use it, you have probably heard it or seen it in writing at some point in your life.
So here’s everything you need to know about the idiom “rooting for you.”
Meaning of “Rooting for You”
If someone has told you they are rooting for you, it means that you have their support. However, this expression is pretty vague, so what kind of support they are offering you is up for debate. It could be nothing more than their thoughts and best wishes, or it could be their time, money, or effort.
“Rooting for you” is usually used to express support for people you know, but it is also very common as a way of expressing support for a sports team, athlete, artist, or business, in which case you may not personally know the person or group you are rooting for.
When and How to Use the Expression
“I’m rooting for you” is an expression of support that can be used in just about any situation. It means that you are there for someone in some way, or that you are hoping for their success, happiness, or health.
Here are some examples of how you could use “rooting for you” in your daily life to show your support for those around you:
If someone (or a team of people) is playing a sport, you can root for them to win, like a football fan rooting for his favorite team. If your favorite sports team has been doing very badly for the past few years and your friends ask you why you still support them.
You could respond: “They were my inspiration when I was a kid and seeing them play gave me some of my best memories. A few losses don’t mean I should abandon them – I will always root for them.”
If someone you know is playing a sport and is unlikely to win, you can root for them to do their best. In this situation, you are showing them that you will still support them whether they win or lose.
If someone is struggling in their relationship, you can root for the couple to resolve their issues or you can root for your friend to strike out on their own and be happier.
If you are rooting for someone who is going through a breakup, you could simply be a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear, or you could be giving them advice and helping them move house.
If someone is ill, you can root for them to get better and beat the illness. When you root for someone who is ill, you could just be hoping for their recovery, or you could be there every step of the way, taking them to doctor’s appointments and helping them with their day-to-day life.
In response to their news of the illness, you could say, “I’m so sorry, my friend. I will be there for you every step of the way – whatever you need. You’ve got this and I will always root for you.”
Your son tells you and your spouse that he is trans and wants to have gender reassignment surgery. You could say, “We are so happy for you, honey, and we can’t wait to have a beautiful daughter. We will be there for you all the way – we’re rooting for you.”
As you can see, the expression “rooting for you” can mean many things and be used in many ways. Because it is so vague, it is important to let someone know what your support entails if you are going to say this to them, otherwise, it may come across as disingenuous.
In most situations, thoughts and prayers do very little to help a person in need, so if you tell someone who is having a hard time that you are rooting for them, it is best to try and actually help them if you can.
History of “Rooting for You”
Like many English expressions, it is difficult to pinpoint the precise origin of the saying “rooting for you,” but there is one theory that has some merit. In Middle English, as far back as the 1300s, the word “rowten” was used to describe a cattle call or bellow.
This could have come from the old Norse “rauta” or the Latin word “rudere,” and it later evolved into “rout”. Since a cheer is a type of shout, the word works as a way of expressing that you are cheering for someone or supporting them.
Other Ways to Say “Rooting for You”
If you don’t like the expression “rooting for you” or you use it too much and are looking for some alternatives, there are plenty of other ways to express your support for someone. Here are a few examples:
- “I’ve got your back”
- “I’m on your side”
- “I’m in your corner”
- “I support you”
- “I’ll cheer for you”
- “I’m right there with you”
- “You’ve got my vote”
- “I’m with you all the way”
- “I’m betting on you”
- “You’ll be in my thoughts”
- “I wish you success”
- “You’ve got this”
- “Good luck”
- “I believe in you”
- “You can do it”
If someone tells you they are rooting for you, it means that you have their support and they are wishing for the best outcome in whatever it is you are doing. The expression can be quite vague because it expresses support but doesn’t explain what form that support will come in.
The word may have originated from the Middle English word “rowten,” which then evolved to “rout,” describing a cattle call or bellow. This fits well with the definition of “rooting” and “cheering” for someone.
“Rooting for you” can be used to express your support for someone you know, like a friend, family member, or colleague, or someone you don’t know, like a sports star or team, a company, or a celebrity.
In the more personal instances, you should try to express what support you are offering, such as attending a sports match, helping someone through a tough time, or simply hoping for the best for them.