lin·​net ˈli-nət How to pronounce linnet (audio)
: a common small brownish Old World finch (Acanthis cannabina) of which the male has red on the breast and crown during breeding season

Examples of linnet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And evening full of the linnet’s wings. Annie Lane, oregonlive, 17 Mar. 2021 Sparrows, chaffinches, linnets, and several coastal African birds arrived to the island in 1863. National Geographic, 8 May 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'linnet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French linette, from lin flax, from Latin linum; from its feeding on flax seeds

First Known Use

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of linnet was circa 1530

Dictionary Entries Near linnet

Cite this Entry

“Linnet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


lin·​net ˈlin-ət How to pronounce linnet (audio)
: a common small Old-World brownish finch of which the male has red on the breast and top of the head during breeding season

from early French linette "linnet," from lin "flax," from Latin linum "flax"

Word Origin
Many birds eat seeds. One small songbird, known as the linnet, seems especially fond of seeds of the flax plant, a fondness that appears to have earned the bird its name. The Latin word for flax is linum, which is also the source of the English word linen, a cloth made from flax. When linum was borrowed from Latin into early French, it became lin. The songbird that feeds on the flax seeds came to be called linette in early French and later linnet in English.

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