biennial plant with an esculent root, native to the British Isles and extensively cultivated as a vegetable, 1710, from French salsifis, earlier sercifi, sassify (16c.), which is probably from Italian erba salsifica, from Old Italian salsifica, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin sal "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt") + fricare "to rub" (see friction). Among the native names is goatsbeard.
updated on December 04, 2021
Dictionary entries near salsify