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 edible root which is cooked as a vegetable; also : the root
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."
Origin and Etymology of parsnip
Middle English passenep, modification of Old French pasnaie, from Latin pastinaca, from pastinum 2-pronged dibble
First Known Use: 14th century
Definition of Parsnip
— see finlay
PARSNIP Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of parsnip for Students
: the long white root of a garden plant that is cooked as a vegetable
Seen and Heard
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