1. an herb, Pertoselinum crispum, native to the Mediterranean, having either curled leaf clusters (French parsley) or flat compound leaves (Italian parsley), widely cultivated for use in garnishing or seasoning food.Compare parsley family.
  2. the leaves of this plant, used to garnish or season food.
  3. any of certain allied or similar plants.
  1. Also pars·lied, pars·leyed. cooked or garnished with parsley: parsley potatoes.

Origin of parsley

before 1000; Middle English persely, blend of Old English petersilie and Old French persil; both < Late Latin *petrosilium, alteration of Latin petroselīnum < Greek petrosélīnon rock-parsley. See petro-1, celery
Related formspars·ley·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for parsley


  1. a S European umbelliferous plant, Petroselinum crispum, widely cultivated for its curled aromatic leaves, which are used in cooking
  2. any of various similar and related plants, such as fool's-parsley, stone parsley, and cow parsley

Word Origin for parsley

C14 persely, from Old English petersilie + Old French persil, peresil, both ultimately from Latin petroselīnum rock parsley, from Greek petroselinon, from petra rock + selinon parsley
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for parsley

14c. merger of Old English petersilie and Old French peresil (13c., Modern French persil), both from Medieval Latin petrosilium, from Latin petroselinum, from Greek petroselinon "rock-parsley," from petros "rock, stone" + selinon "celery" (see celery).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper