• A temperate climate biennial plant, Brassica rapa (Rapifera Group), grown as an annual for the swollen underground roots which are 2.5 to 7 cm in diameter and round, flat or long and tapering. The hard flesh is white or yellow and the skin white, pink, red or yellow. Young turnips may be eaten raw or pickled, the mature ones are used as a root vegetable. The young leaves are known as turnip tops.
  • swede


  • noun a common vegetable with a round white root, used mainly in soups and stews

Origin & History of “turnip”

Etymologically, a turnip may be a ‘turned neep’ – that is, a neep, or turnip, that has been ‘turned’ on a lathe, so as to be round (the turnip is a roughly spherical vegetable). Its second syllable, -nip, goes back ultimately to Latin nāpus ‘turnip’, which was adopted by Old English as nǣp. It survives in Scottish English as neep, which is used for ‘swedes’ as well as ‘turnips’. The linking of the first syllable with turn is purely conjectural, and has never been definitely established.