"Root" and "root word" are related concepts in linguistics, but they have slightly different meanings.
A root is a basic unit of meaning that can't be broken down into smaller parts. It's the most basic form of a word, and it doesn't have any prefixes or suffixes attached to it. For example, the root "spect" means "to look", and it appears in words like "spectator" and "inspect".
A root word, on the other hand, is a word that contains a root and possibly one or more prefixes and/or suffixes. For example, the word "inspection" contains the root "spect" as well as the prefix "in-" and the suffix "-tion".
In summary, a root is a standalone unit of meaning, while a root word is a word that contains a root along with other linguistic elements.