from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A widely cultivated Eurasian plant (Brassica rapa) of the mustard family, having a large fleshy edible yellow or white root.
  • n. The root of this plant, eaten as a vegetable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The white root of a yellow-flowered plant, Brassica rapa, grown as a vegetable and as fodder for cattle.
  • n. The yellow root of a related plant, the swede or Brassica napus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The edible, fleshy, roundish, or somewhat conical, root of a cruciferous plant (Brassica campestris, var. Napus); also, the plant itself.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The thick fleshy root of the plant designated by Linnæus as Brassica Rapa, but now believed to be a variety, together with the rape (which see), of B. campestris, a plant found wild, in varieties corresponding to these plants, in Europe and Asiatic Russia (see navew); also, the plant itself, a common garden and field crop.
  • n. Same as Indian turnip.
  • n. (See also lion's-turnip, prairie-turnip.)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. widely cultivated plant having a large fleshy edible white or yellow root
  • n. root of any of several members of the mustard family


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

tur-, of unknown meaning + dialectal nepe, turnip (from Middle English, from Old English nǣp, from Latin nāpus).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From turnepe, probably from turn (due to round shape, as though turned on a lathe) + Middle English nepe, from Old English næp, from Latin napus. Cognate to neep; see also parsnip.


  • Indian demurred; but opposition had only increased her craving for the turnip in a tenfold degree; and, after a short mental struggle, in which the animal propensity overcame the warnings of prudence, the squaw gave up the bowl, and received in return _one turnip_.

    Life in the Backwoods

  • In guidelines which stated that minced or diced beef, sliced potato, onion and swede were the only ingredients permitted in the traditional snack, officials were forced to allow the word "turnip" in ingredient lists - though not in the pasties themselves - because the Cornish confusingly use the word to refer to Swedes. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • You could put in turnip, buttersquah, swede or mushrooms in this too

    Archive 2006-10-01

  • But Lisa Lu, the Taiwan native and principal of the Pomona Valley Chinese School, said turnip cake is common in her family because the word turnip in the Taiwanese language sounds like the words good luck.

    Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Most Viewed

  • * An elderly "turnip" - style pocket watch -- not working

    Boing Boing: July 20, 2003 - July 26, 2003 Archives

  • The priestess, whose clear-cut features and two lovely black eyes betrayed a mixture of Semitic blood, was examining the 'turnip' -- as she called the watch -- when Leonora, saying 'Mum's the word,' rather violently called my attention (with her elbow) to a strange parcel lying apart from the rest.


  • It will have to be acknowledged that as long as the black rats were in power they were as much shunned by all other living creatures as the gray rats are in our day – and for just cause; they had thrown themselves upon poor, fettered prisoners, and tortured them; they had ravished the dead; they had stolen the last turnip from the cellars of the poor; bitten off the feet of sleeping geese; stolen eggs and chicks from the hens; and had committed a thousand depredations.

    The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

  • We're at least as important to the economy as detecting whether that turnip is really organic or not!)

    You Don't Know Me

  • However, I want to take this opportunity to recommend Sylvia’s Kicking Hot Sauce, and her greens seasoning will turn plain turnip leaf into the food of the Gods.

    Waldo Jaquith - “My lucky stars, a negro!”

  • Kolrabi is apparently more favored by Germans than Americans, and was described as a turnip with a cabbage-y taste.

    Day in the Life of an Idiot


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  • usage/historical note in comment on vegetables.

    November 27, 2017

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    December 2, 2016

  • I don't understand why a vegetable as hypnotic, as vibrant as the turnip has come to refer to a dull person.

    June 15, 2014

  • A person with a humorless, lifeless and ignorant personality (as in a vegetable).

    June 14, 2014

  • A (clunky) watch - see

    "So she put her fur wrapper back on, looked at the time on an enormous old turnip which she took out of a carpetbag, paid for her camomile tea, leaving a most ungratifying gratuity for the waiter, and left, in despair."

    Witch Grass by Raymond Queneau, translated by Barbara Wright, p 29 of the NYRB paperback

    November 5, 2010

  • Hippy slang - an inexperienced person, a newbie who would 'turn up' at a gathering, festival, retreat, etc. without any equipment or clothes for living rough.

    April 3, 2008