Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oh my neep!

Could it really be? Is Weird Vegetables tapping into the frosty heart of this season's Geist? This just in from our Irish vegetable linguist, Conor Creaney (aka Cardoon O'Chicory): neep is the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the day for today, Sunday, January 25, 2009. Leave it to the OED to unearth yet another pseudonym for a member of clan turnip that I left unexamined in my turnip vs. rutabaga post (see the comments too). If you make it to the OED site today, 'tis here. If not, then I've diced up the entry and kept my favorite bite-sized pieces below. I am particularly taken with the turnip paraphernalia (turnip watches and neep lanterns) that round out the uses of turnips elaborated below. Ju Duoqui may want to take note for her next vegetable outfit.

neep, n.

Now regional (chiefly Sc.).

1. a. A turnip; (also, in later Sc. use) a swede. Also: a turnip plant or swede plant.
In Old English, perh. also applied to rape, Brassica napus.
The usual name in all Scottish dialects and current in Ulster and Northumberland, it is also recorded by Eng. Dial. Dict. (1903) in Cornwall, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Herefordshire, north Wales, and Leinster.

1826 J. WILSON Noctes Ambrosianae in Wks. (1855) I. 207 Juicy neeps that melt in the mooth o' their ain accord.
1972 P. O'BRIAN Post Captain (1990) v. 123 She will bash the boat like a bowl of neeps as she sounds.
1997 Shetland Times 21 Nov. 27/1 An enjoyable meal of haggis, neeps and tatties was served by Lexie Mann.

b. Sc. and Irish English (south.). A parsnip. Cf. MYPE n.

...1791 MRS. FRAZER Pract. of Cookery (1800) 121 To stew Parsnips..when the cream is warm, put in the nips.

{dag}2. More fully wild neep. Any of several wild plants used medicinally; spec. white bryony, Bryonia dioica. Obs.


3. Sc. A watch; spec. a watch in a case, a turnip watch.
Sc. National Dict. (1965) records the sense in general Scottish use in 1963.

1866 W. GREGOR Dial. Banffshire (Philol. Soc.), Neep, a watch. 1895 J. TWEEDDALE Moff 210 ‘It maun be shortly sin if he dis,’ said Wullie Cuddy, consulting his ‘neep’. 1923 R. L. CASSIE Heart
or Heid
18 That great neep o' a watch o' yours wunna keep time.


neep brose n. Sc. and Irish English (north.) brose made with the liquid in which turnips or swedes have been boiled.

1887 A. G. WILKEN Peter Laing 50 A great notion for *neep brose. 1959 C. GIBSON Folk-lore Tayside 33 Almost on a par with kale-brose were neep-brose, beef-brose{em}and just plain brose.

neep land n. Sc. (now Orkney and Shetland) ground prepared or used for growing turnips or swedes.

1861 in Sc. National Dict. (1965) s.v. Neep n.1, I was at Newmill yesterday and got the Dung and new grass Valued and plowing of *neep land is setteled. 1956 C. M. COSTIE Benjie's Bodle 9 Mither's washan and Ded's i' the neep lan'.

neep lantern n. Sc. = turnip-lantern n. at TURNIP n. Compounds 2.

1871 C. GIBBON For Lack of Gold xviii, The laddies paraded the village with *neep-lanterns. 1937 St. Andrews Citizen 1 May 3 They then got a turnip, hollowed it out in the usual manner when making a ‘neep lantern’, and gave the turnip the form of a skull.

neep-seed n. (a) the seed of the neep; (b) Sc. (north-east.), the time for sowing neeps.

1916 G. ABEL Wylins 66 The neepseed deen, me an' my chums an' pals Wid shim a bit, or dander to the walls.

neep-shaw n. Sc. and Eng. regional (Northumberland) a turnip top.