If I want to say

To prevent such a thing from happening again, we should solve this issue from the root of the problem.

Can I say

from the origin of the problem

instead of

from the root of the problem

Is there any difference between them?

  • The origin of the problem was when Fred made that stupid decision. That stupid decision is the root of the problem. – Hot Licks Sep 2 '18 at 11:44
  • @HotLicks can you explain more clearly? – Chang yo Sep 2 '18 at 11:50
  • "Origin of the problem" would not normally be used to refer to the location of the first link in the problem's structure, but rather would be used to refer to the process that led to the problem. "Root of the problem" generally is talking about the first link in the structure of the problem. – Hot Licks Sep 2 '18 at 12:09
  • 1
    @HotLicks- this is your personal, unnecessarily twisted, understanding of a simple concept. – user067531 Sep 2 '18 at 12:14
  • I think HotLicks is absolutely right. – Jelila Sep 4 '18 at 1:54

The origin of the weed is the seed that blew over the garden fence and caused it to grow in your garden. The origin could be even more nebulous multiplicitous and complex - the wind, the weather that day, how your neighbor never weeded his own garden...

Do you want to go after those things? Usually not! Unless you want to make yourself crazy. By having to address so many complex and often nebulous, things.

Hence, as HotLicks pointed out, you need to instead go for the ‘root’ of the problem - grab a hold of the weed, and pull it out by its root - so that it will not grow again.

Should you also want to deal with the origin of the problem - ie talk to your neighbor about weeding his garden, so that seeds do not blow onto yours - ah well that’s another matter.

If you do want to deal with the ‘origin’ then that’s usually a more complicated, expensive, challenging, sometimes even philosophical, project.

  • Oh…I see. No wonder I usually see ‘‘the origin of universe" instead of "the root of universe". It makes sense. – Chang yo Sep 4 '18 at 4:50

Both expressions have the same meaning, root of the problem is more idiomatic.

an understanding of the causes or basis of a problem. (Typically: determine ~; figure out ~; find ~; get to ~; get at ~.)

  • It will take a little more study to get to the root of the problem. Let's stop avoiding the issue and get at the root of the problem.

(McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs)

Note also use frequency of the two expressions on Google Books

  • 1
    Thanks for your help. Your explanation is quite simply clear and useful.": ) – Chang yo Sep 2 '18 at 10:29

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