pars·​nip | \ ˈpär-snəp How to pronounce parsnip (audio) \

Definition of parsnip

: 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

Illustration of parsnip

Illustration of parsnip

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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."

Examples of parsnip in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Roast the parsnips, gently stirring every 10 minutes, until fork-tender and starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Janelle Bitker,, "Oakland chef Bryant Terry brings international flair to vegan recipes," 5 May 2020 Firm: Root vegetables (beet, carrot, celery root, parsnip, potato, sweet potato, turnip), winter squash (such as butternut squash, delicata, kabocha, pumpkin). Alexa Weibel, New York Times, "Missing an Ingredient? Here’s What You Can Use Instead," 11 Apr. 2020 Try green beans, bok choy, parsnips, potatoes, and other vegetables. Stephanie Thurrott, NBC News, "Sous vide guide: How it works and best recipes to get started," 12 Apr. 2020 Root Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "Stocking Your Pantry, the Smart Way," 6 Mar. 2020 Packed with sweetness from parsnips and nuttiness from a drizzle of brown butter, this dish is rich and delicious, and the perfect complement to any winter dinner. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Parsnip and Potato Mash," 10 Dec. 2019 Parsnip and Golden Beet Soup This soup highlights the pale golden colors and slight sweetness of yellow beets and parsnips. Katie Workman, NBC News, "How to make crispy roasted chickpeas in your oven," 22 Mar. 2020 Dish: Tongue and cheek, 12-hour braised beef with vanilla-parsnip puree, roasted pearl onions and heirloom carrots. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Mallorca Wine and Dine in the Dark, many tastings set in NE Ohio, more - wine calendar," 10 Mar. 2020 Now, down to business: Layering up matchsticks of sweet potato and parsnip with lime and black bean is a fun twist on a gratin that takes it from a side to a main meal. Kari Sonde, Washington Post, "These potato recipes are audibly crispy — without the deep-frying," 26 Sep. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of parsnip

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for parsnip

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

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Time Traveler for parsnip

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The first known use of parsnip was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Parsnip.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for parsnip


How to pronounce parsnip (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of parsnip

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


pars·​nip | \ ˈpär-snəp How to pronounce parsnip (audio) \

Kids Definition of parsnip

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on parsnip

Spanish Central: Translation of parsnip

Nglish: Translation of parsnip for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of parsnip for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about parsnip

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