: a Eurasian biennial herb (Pastinaca sativa) of the carrot family with large pinnate leaves and yellow flowers that is cultivated for its long tapered edible root which is cooked as a vegetable; also : the root
"A sweet tender treat awaits my taste buds whenever I prepare parsnips. Parsnips are truly one of my favorite vegetables that I first enjoyed as a young child." (Dianne Lamb, Brattleboro Reformer, April 25, 2009)
Did You Know?
The word "parsnip" was borrowed into Middle English in the 14th century as a modification of the Old French word "pasnaie," itself derived from the Latin noun "pastinaca," meaning "parsnip" or "carrot." The scientific name for the parsnip, "Pastinaca sativa," still reflects this history. "Pastinaca," in turn, traces back to "pastinum," a Latin word for a small gardening tool used to make holes in the ground for the insertion of plants, seeds, or bulbs. "Parsnip" may also remind you of the name of another edible root, "turnip," and there's a possible explanation for the resemblance. The Middle English spelling of "parsnip" ("passenep") may have been influenced by "nepe," the old form of "turnip."
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