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[lin-it] /ˈlɪn ɪt/
a small Old World finch, Carduelis cannabina.
any of various related birds, as the house finch.
Origin of linnet
1520-30; earlier linet < Middle French (Walloon, Picard) linette (French linot, linotte), derivative of lin flax (cf. line1; so named for its diet of flaxseeds); see -et Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for linnet
Historical Examples
  • The child had the greatest fondness for reading, her first book, a linnet's Life, being tenderly cared for all her days.

    Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton
  • A goldfinch gave away the bride, and a linnet was bridesmaid.

    Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag VI Louisa M. Alcott
  • A lark sang in the sky, linnet and cuckoo at hand, in the wood at the top of the glen cooed the doves.

    Foes Mary Johnston
  • "I shouldn't put it off too long, if I were you," advised linnet, candidly.

    Major Vigoureux A. T. Quiller-Couch
  • A linnet from the North after days of dangerous travel finally reached Lake Como, southward bound.

    Our Vanishing Wild Life William T. Hornaday
  • "You wait till you get there before you boast," advised linnet.

    Major Vigoureux A. T. Quiller-Couch
  • Their flight is rapid and irregular, like that of the linnet.

  • "linnet's improving," put in Matthew Henry, with fine sarcasm.

    Major Vigoureux A. T. Quiller-Couch
  • "Keep silence, noisy little one," Unto a linnet said the Swan.

    Literary Fables of Yriarte Tomas de Iriarte
  • Perhaps linnet will place the bomb; perhaps Kauffman will do it himself.

    Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls Edith Van Dyne (AKA L. Frank Baum)
British Dictionary definitions for linnet


a brownish Old World finch, Acanthis cannabina: the male has a red breast and forehead
Also called house finch. a similar and related North American bird, Carpodacus mexicanus
Word Origin
C16: from Old French linotte, ultimately from Latin līnum flax (because the bird feeds on flaxseeds)
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
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Word Origin and History for linnet

small finch-like songbird, 1530s, from Middle French linette "grain of flax," diminutive of lin "flax," from Latin linum "linen" (see linen). Flaxseed forms much of the bird's diet. Old English name for the bird was linetwige, with second element perhaps meaning "pluck." This yielded Middle English and dialectal lintwhite.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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