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

Keep scrolling for more

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 The other half of that mixture is whisked with olive oil and vinegar to make a sumptuous drizzle for the carrot and parsnip batons which are roasted on the sheet pan alongside the fish. Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2021 Add the parsnip and continue to simmer until all of the vegetables and beans are quite soft, 15-30 minutes longer. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 10 Feb. 2021 Grab 2 or 3 slices each of sweet potato, beet, parsnip and onion. Rick Nelson, Star Tribune, 18 Nov. 2020 Root crops, including beet, carrot, radish, parsnip, rutabaga and turnip must be grown from seeds sown directly where the plants will grow in the garden. Dan Gill,, 4 Nov. 2020 Roast the parsnips, gently stirring every 10 minutes, until fork-tender and starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Janelle Bitker,, 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, 11 Apr. 2020 Try green beans, bok choy, parsnips, potatoes, and other vegetables. Stephanie Thurrott, NBC News, 12 Apr. 2020 Root Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes. Melissa Clark, New York Times, 6 Mar. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About parsnip

Time Traveler for parsnip

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About parsnip

Statistics for parsnip

Cite this Entry

“Parsnip.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for parsnip



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

More from Merriam-Webster on parsnip

Nglish: Translation of parsnip for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!