parsnip

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noun pars·nip \ˈpär-snəp\

Definition of parsnip

  1. :  a Eurasian biennial herb (Pastinaca sativa) of the carrot family with large pinnate leaves and yellow flowers that is cultivated for its long tapered whitish root which is cooked as a vegetable; also :  the root

parsnip was our Word of the Day on 02/07/2010. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of parsnip from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parsnip'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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."

Illustration of parsnip

Origin and Etymology of parsnip

Middle English passenep, modification of Old French pasnaie, from Latin pastinaca, from pastinum 2-pronged dibble


PARSNIP Defined for English Language Learners

parsnip

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noun

Definition of parsnip for English Language Learners

  • : a vegetable that is the long white root of a plant related to the carrot


PARSNIP Defined for Kids

parsnip

play
noun pars·nip \ˈpär-snəp\

Definition of parsnip for Students

  1. :  the long white root of a garden plant that is cooked as a vegetable



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