from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An Aristotelian name of some small yellowish bird that feeds upon thistles, perhaps the goldfinch, taken by Boie in 1828 as the name of a genus of fringilline birds, including the linnet or siskin (C. spinus), and later extended to a number of American linnets, as the pine-finch (C. pinus), the American goldfinch (C. tristis), etc., having an acutely conic bill, pointed wings, and short forked tail. See cut under goldfinch.


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