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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.
(Carduelis, sometimes Acanthis, cannabina), seed-eating European finch of the family Carduelidae (order Passeriformes). It is 13 centimetres (5 inches) long and brown streaked, with a white-edged forked tail; the crown and breast of the male is red. It is a hedgerow singer, and flocks forage for seeds in open country.