Turnip vs. Radish - What's the difference?

Main Difference

The main difference between Turnip and Radish is that the Turnip is a root vegetable and Radish is a species of plant.


The turnip or white turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. The word turnip is a compound of tur- as in turned/rounded on a lathe and neep, derived from Latin napus, the word for the plant. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock. In the north of England, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall and eastern Canada (Newfoundland), turnip (or neep) often refers to rutabaga, a larger, yellow root vegetable in the same genus (Brassica) also known as swede (from "Swedish turnip").


The radish (Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. Radishes are grown and consumed throughout the world, being mostly eaten raw as a crunchy salad vegetable. They have numerous varieties, varying in size, flavor, color, and length of time they take to mature. Radishes owe their sharp flavor to the various chemical compounds produced by the plants, including glucosinolate, myrosinase, and isothiocyanate. They are sometimes grown as companion plants and suffer from few pests and diseases. They germinate quickly and grow rapidly, smaller varieties being ready for consumption within a month, while larger daikon varieties take several months. Another use of radish is as cover or catch crop in winter or as a forage crop. Some radishes are grown for their seeds; daikon, for instance, may be grown for oil production. Others are used for sprouting.

Turnip vs. Radish


Table of contents

1. Etymology
          3.1. Synonyms
          3.2. Derived terms
          3.3. See also


1. Etymology

From turnepe, probably from turn + Middle English nepe, from Old English nǣp, from Latin nāpus. 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.

2. Pronunciation

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈtɜː.nɪp/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈtɜ˞.nɪp/

3. Noun

turnip (plural turnips)

  1. The white root of a yellow-flowered plant, Brassica rapa, grown as a vegetable and as fodder for cattle.
  2. (Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Atlantic Canada) The yellow root of a related plant, the swede or Brassica napus.
  3. (dated) A large, heavy pocket watch, so called because its profile resembled the vegetable.

3.1. Synonyms

  • (Brassica rapa): summer turnip, white turnip (Cornwall, Scotland)
  • (Brassica napus): rutabaga (North America), swede (Ireland, Northern England, Scotland), tumshie (Scotland)

3.2. Derived terms

  • fall off the turnip truck
  • Swedish turnip
  • turnip watch
  • turnip flea
  • turnip fly
  • turnipy

3.3. See also

  • rutabaga
  • swede
  • turnip greens

4. Verb

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.

5. Anagrams

  • Turpin, turpin


1. Etymology

From Middle English radishe, redich, radiche, raddik, radike, redic, from Old English redic, rædic, from Vulgar Latin rādīce, the accusative singular of rādīx (root of a plant; radish); later influenced by Anglo-Norman radich, radice, and Middle French radice (modern French radis), from Latin. Cognate with Danish reddike, ræddike, Italian radice, Middle Dutch radic, Old High German ratih, retih (Middle High German retich, modern German Rettich, Rettig), Old Saxon redik (Middle Low German rēdik, reddik, rētik, and other forms), Old Swedish rädikia, rätikia, and other forms (modern Swedish rättika), Portuguese raditz.

2. Pronunciation

  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɹadɪʃ/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɹædɪʃ/
  • Rhymes: -ædɪʃ
  • Hyphenation: ra‧dish

3. Noun

radish (plural radishes)

  1. A plant of the Brassicaceae family, Raphanus sativus or Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus, having an edible root.
    • 1659 (indicated as 1660), Robert Sharrock, “Of Propagation by Seed”, in The History of the Propagation & Improvement of Vegetables by the Concurrence of Art and Nature: [...], Oxford: Printed by A. Lichfield, printer to the University, for Tho[mas] Robinson, OCLC 832949671, pages 14–15:
      Many times they ſow divers ſeeds in a Bed together, as Radiſhes and Carrots, that by ſuch time as the Carrots come up, the Radiſhes may be gone. Upon beds newly ſet with Licorice they ſow Onions or Radiſh, or Lettice if their Licorice plants or ground be but weak, ſo as not quickly to cauſe a ſhadow with their leaves.
  2. The root of this plant used as food. Some varieties are pungent and usually eaten raw in salads, etc., while others have a milder taste and are cooked.
  3. With a distinguishing word: some other plant of the Raphanus genus or Brassicaceae family.

3.1. See also

  • daikon
  • mooli

4. Further reading

  • radish on Wikipedia.Wikipedia

5. Anagrams

  • Dahirs, Rashid
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