Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A perennial plant of the genus Sanguisorba, having pinnately compound leaves and apetalous flowers. The young leaves are sometimes added to salads as a garnish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An herb used in salads and herbal teas.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of perennial herbs (Poterium); especially, Poterium Sanguisorba, the common, or garden, burnet.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Brownish.
  • n. Cloth dyed of a brown color.
  • n. The pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis.
  • n. The common name of species of Poterium, an herbaceous genus of the natural order Rosaceæ.

Etymologies

Middle English, from Medieval Latin burneta, from Old French brunete, dark brown, diminutive of brun, brown, of Germanic origin; see bher-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French brunet and brunete (small brown) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A small bird called a burnet made friends with him and lived in his cell, ate from his fingers and his trencher, and only left him at the breeding season, after which it brought its fledged family back with it.

    Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln A Short Story of One of the Makers of Mediaeval England

  • VIOLA _palustris_, the STATICE _armeria_, or sea pink, a kind of burnet, the RANUNCULUS _lapponicus_, the HOLCUS _odoratus_, the common celery, with the ARABIS _heterophylla_.

    A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14

  • Last week I saw burnet roses in the dunes of Northumberland: low scrubby sticks scythed by North Sea winds blooming with constellations of white flowers.

    Country diary: Wenlock Edge

  • Gatherings of flies on the tall, white plate flowers of hogweed; burnet moths swinging on the yellow, sweetly scented lady's bedstraw; soldier beetles copulating wildly on their grass stems: these creatures were drawn to plants as places, to be inhabited by animal passions.

    Country diary: Wenlock Edge

  • Wet-kneed, we walked by pastures filled with the white froth of meadowsweet and river-bank flora of lady's bedstraw, betony, devil's bit scabious, greater burnet and eyebright, kneeling several times to store memories of the scent of the last of the fragrant orchids.

    Country diary: Forest-in-Teesdale

  • Heavy doses of nitrogen fertiliser will tip the competitive balance in favour of grasses, and soon purple wood crane's bill, blood-red greater burnet, frothy white pignut and meadowsweet, yellow lady's bedstraw, globe flower and blue speedwells will vanish, leaving an "improved" pasture – more productive, more profitable, but oh-so dull.

    Make hay meadow photos while the sun shines | Phil Gates

  • Suddenly, there in the viewfinder, was a six-spot burnet moth on the orchid blossoms.

    Country diary: Ardersier

  • The burnet moths, without the competitive fuss between elite athletes and panting also-rans, just seemed beautifully better at it.

    Country diary

  • The motivation for the burnet moths seemed powerfully erotic.

    Country diary

  • The space below knee-height was full of burnet moths.

    Country diary

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