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[pahr-snip] /ˈpɑr snɪp/
a plant, Pastinaca sativa, cultivated varieties of which have a large, whitish, edible root.
the root of this plant.
Origin of parsnip
1350-1400; earlier pars(e)nep, pass(e)nep, Middle English pas(t)nep(e) < Latin past(ināca) parsnip (derivative of pastinum forked dibble) + Middle English nep turnip; see neep Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for parsnip
  • We loved the clever use of parsnip and potato peels as a crispy topping for this creamy mash.
  • Lobster is transformed, but not overwhelmed, by red-wine sauce and a cushion of parsnip purée.
  • Littleneck clams come hidden under a thatched roof of shoestring fries-parsnip, not potato.
  • Cooks crush stray parsnip leaves between their fingernails and sniff the wistful fragrance of late autumn.
  • Garnish each egg with a bay leaf and fried parsnip curl.
  • They are often displayed with the parsley root, so be sure you know which is a parsnip.
  • The stem of cow parsnip lacks purple mottling and its surface is downy or fuzzy.
  • Cow parsnip grows shorter than hogweed with slender, hairy stems and smaller, less jagged leaves.
  • The family includes edible plants as carrot and parsnip, but also poisonous species such as the deadly water hemlock.
  • The property is monitored for invasive species such as wild parsnip and phragmites.
British Dictionary definitions for parsnip


a strong-scented umbelliferous plant, Pastinaca sativa, cultivated for its long whitish root
the root of this plant, eaten as a vegetable
any of several similar plants, esp the cow parsnip
Word Origin
C14: from Old French pasnaie, from Latin pastināca, from pastināre to dig, from pastinum two-pronged tool for digging; also influenced by Middle English nepeturnip
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for parsnip

16c., parsnepe, corruption (by influence of Middle English nepe "turnip;" see neep) of Middle English passenep (late 14c.), from Old French pasnaise "parsnip," also "male member" (Modern French panais), from Latin pastinaca "parsnip, carrot," from pastinum "two-pronged fork" (related to pastinare "to dig up the ground"); so called from the shape of the root. The parsnip was considered a kind of turnip.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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