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small, light vessel, 1540s, from Middle French pinace (earlier spinace, 15c., from Old French espinace, Modern French péniche; also attested as Anglo-Latin spinachium (mid-14c.)); of unknown origin. The French word perhaps is from Italian pinaccia or Spanish pinaza, from pino "pine tree; ship" (Latin pinus "pine tree" also had a secondary sense of "ship, vessel"). But variations in early forms makes this uncertain.