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[lin-it] /ˈlɪn ɪt/
a small Old World finch, Carduelis cannabina.
any of various related birds, as the house finch.
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. 2015.
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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
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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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Encyclopedia Article for linnet

(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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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