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parsnip

[pahr-snip] /ˈpɑr snɪp/
noun
1.
a plant, Pastinaca sativa, cultivated varieties of which have a large, whitish, edible root.
2.
the root of this plant.
Origin
1350-1400
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
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for parsnips

parsnip

/ˈpɑːsnɪp/
noun
1.
a strong-scented umbelliferous plant, Pastinaca sativa, cultivated for its long whitish root
2.
the root of this plant, eaten as a vegetable
3.
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
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Word Origin and History for parsnips

parsnip

n.

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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