[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for linnet

British Dictionary definitions for linnet


/ (ˈlɪnɪt) /


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 for linnet

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

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