- a plant, Pastinaca sativa, cultivated varieties of which have a large, whitish, edible root.
- the root of this plant.
- 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
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.