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From Middle English turnepe, probably from turn + Middle English nepe, from Old English nǣp, from Latin nāpus.[1] The component turn may be due to the round shape of the plant as though turned on a lathe, or because it must be turned and twisted to be harvested. Cognate to neep. See also parsnip.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈtɜː.nɪp/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈtɝ.nɪp/
  • (file)


turnip (plural turnips)

  1. The white root of a yellow-flowered plant, Brassica rapa, grown as a vegetable and as fodder for cattle.
    • 1892, Ella Eaton Kellogg, “Vegetables”, in Science in the Kitchen: A Scientific Treatise on Food Substances and Their Dietetic Properties, Together with a Practical Explanation of the Principles of Healthful Cookery, and a Large Number of Original, Palatable, and Wholesome Recipes[1], Revised edition, Michigan: Health Publishing Company, page 240:
      The ancient Roman gastronomists considered the turnip, when prepared in the following manner, a dish fit for epicures: "After boiling, extract the water from them, and season with cummin, rue, or benzoin, pounded in a mortar; afterward add honey, vinegar, gravy, and boiled grapes. Allow the whole to simmer, and serve."
    • 1969, Robert Farrar Capon, “Living Water”, in The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection:
      The turnip is one of the lordliest vegetables in the world; its broth is practically a soup in itself.
  2. (Scotland, Ireland, Northern England, Cornwall, Atlantic Canada) The yellow root of a related plant, the swede or Brassica napus.
  3. (Hong Kong) The white root of Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus, also known as a daikon.[2]
  4. (dated) A large, heavy pocket watch, so called because its profile resembled the vegetable.
  5. (slang) A fool or simpleton.
    • 1971, Richard Carpenter, Catweazle and the Magic Zodiac, Harmondsworth: Puffin Books, page 33:
      "Dost thou not believe, thou twittering turnip?"
    • 2022, Tessa Bailey, Hook, Line, and Sinker:
      You absolute turnip, you.
      Hannah replaced the clipboard in her lap and pretended to write Very Serious notes. Thank God it was dark in the rear of the studio. No one could see the tomato-colored tidal wave surging up her neck.


Derived terms[edit]


  • German: Turnip
  • Irish: tornapa
  • Russian: турнепс (turneps)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


turnip (third-person singular simple present turnips, present participle turniping or turnipping, simple past and past participle turniped or turnipped)

  1. (transitive) To plant with turnips.
    • 1803, Agricultural Magazine, volume 9, page 32:
      This identical field has been turniped before, and to good account, in a favourable winter.
  2. (transitive) To feed or graze (livestock) on turnips.
    • 1869, Sheep: Their Breeds, Management, and Diseases, page 328:
      The Leicesters and half-breds are purchased by farmers who keep no breeding stock: they are well turniped during the winter, and clipped and fattened in the following season.
    • 1898, John Wrightson, Sheep: Breeds and Management, page 86:
      This system of turniping is found to encourage the growth and muscular development of young stock.


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “turnip”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ Patrick J. Cummings, Hans-Georg Wolf (2011) A Dictionary of Hong Kong English: Words from the Fragrant Harbor, Hong Kong University Press, →ISBN, page 178