name for the sea that anciently lay between Eurasia and Africa-Arabia, coined 1893 by German geologist Eduard Suess, from Tethys, name of a Greek sea goddess, sister and consort of Oceanus.
biennial plant of Eurasia; its pale yellow root has been used as a food from ancient times; c. 1500, parsnepe, a 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) and directly from Latin pastinaca "parsnip, carrot," from pastinum "two-pronged fork" (related to pastinare "to dig up the ground"). The plant was so called from the shape of the root. The parsnip was considered a kind of turnip. The unetymological -r- in the English word is unexplained; cognate Old High German, German, and Dutch pastinak are closer to the Latin original.
1712, "belonging to a prehistoric age," see old + world. Meaning "of or pertaining to Eurasia and Africa," as opposed to the Americas, is by 1877. The noun phrase Old World in this sense is by 1590s. The division of the earth into Old World and New World among Europeans dates to 1503 and Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci's use of Latin Mundus Novus for the lands of the western hemisphere found by Columbus and others, indicating they were not part of Asia.
The Known World is usually divided into four Parts, Europe, Asia, Africk and America. But it is a most unequal Division, and I think it more rational to divide it thus. Viz. the Known World, first into two Parts, the Old and the New World; then the Old World into three, Europe, Asia, and Africa; and the New into two, the Northern and Southern America. [Guy Miege, "A New Cosmography, or Survey of the Whole World," London, 1682]