Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
LINTIE, n. Also linty, and alternative dim. forms lintic (Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 69), -ick, lintock (Ork. 1877 Sc. Naturalist (Jan.) 9). [′lɪnti]
1. The linnet, Acanthis cannabina (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ork. 1891 Buckley and Harvie-Brown Fauna Ork. 118). Gen.Sc., exc. Sh. Freq. in similes in reference to singing in a cheerful carefree manner. Phr. to beat bushes for linties, to be employed on some useless or unprofitable task.
Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (1877) II. 358:
Larks, gowdspinks, mavises and linties. Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 4:
As o'er the birny brae mayhap he wheels, The linties cour wi' fear. Sc. 1826 Blackwood's Mag. (Oct.) 503:
I'll be paid for my trouble. I dinna gang about beating bushes for linties. Ags. 1834 A. Smart Rhymes 109:
The lintie whids amang the whins. wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 271:
Miss Jean … could sing like a linty, loup like a maukin, and play on the piano to the bargain. s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 47:
The hawk that built upon the rock, And the lintie in the shaw. Bnff. 1876 S. Smiles Sc. Naturalist 402:
It is the rose lintie so long as it retains its red breast; but when that is gone or wanting, it is then the gray lintie, the whin lintie, the brown lintie, and so on. Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xliv.:
He was sittin' by his lane in a bit bouroch … whistlin' like a lintie. ne.Sc. 1929 M. W. Simpson Day's End 35:
When the lintie sings, an' the roadside's sweet Wi' the sicht an' scent o' the whin. Cai. 1952 Edb. John o' Groat Lit. Soc.:
So Mrs Mac. came strolling back And issued out a skintie, And in a twinkling everyone Was singing like a lintie.
Combs. (see also 1876 quot. above): (1) brown lintie, the linnet (Mry. 1889 J. Watson Wild Birds 33; Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 374; Cai., Ayr., Wgt., Dmf. 1961); (2) dwarf lintie, the lesser redpole, Acanthis flammea (Slg. 1867 Zoologist (2nd Ser.) II. 893); (3) gray lintie, the linnet (Ib.; Cld. 1880 Jam.; s.Sc. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 64; Bwk. 1889 G. Muirhead Birds Bwk. I. 168; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Per., Fif., m.Lth., Arg., Ayr., sm.Sc. 1961). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (4) green lintie, the greenfinch, Chloris chloris (Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 373; Ayr. 1929 Paton and Pike Birds Ayr. 14). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Also fig. a street urchin; (5) heather lintie, = 2. (Ork. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 66; Ayr. 1929 Paton and Pike Birds Ayr. 18; Cai., Abd., Fif. 1961); (6) hedge lintie, = 1. (Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 374, Cai. 1961); (7) hill-lintie, = 2. (Ork. 1877 Sc. Naturalist (Jan.) 9; Cai. 1961); (8) rose lintie, = 1. (Ork. 1877; Mry. 1889 J. Watson Wild Birds 33; Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Lth. 1961). Also rosy lintie; (9) tree lintie, the chaffinch, Fringilla caelebs (Mry. 1955 Northern Scot (24 Sept.)); (10) whin lintie, fin —, fun — (ne.Sc.), = 1. (Mry. 1889 J. Watson Wild Birds 33; Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 374; ne. and sm.Sc. 1.961); also given as = the whinchat, Saxicola rubetra but? (Mry. 1955 Northern Scot (24 Sept.)); (11) yella lintie, the yellow-hammer, Emberiza citrinella (Abd., Ags., Ayr. 1961); (12) yellow-nebbed lintie, = 2. (Ayr. 1929 Paton and Pike Birds Ayr. 18).
(3) Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1898) vii.:
Peacocks, and magpies, and parrots, and cockytoos, and yorlins, and grey linties. Sc. 1831 S. E. Ferrier Destiny III. vii.:
There, at a window over the way, is a grey-lintie, singing as blithely. Lnk. 1872 R. Tennant Musings 19:
The fairest spot to me, Is where the wee grey-lintie sings. (4) Abd. c.1810 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 2) VII. 55:
They enjoyed themselves at their own bonfire as much as the barest-legged “midden boy” or “Green Lintie,” a clan of city arabs who were never known to be absent from such stirring scenes as these. (8) Ags. 1897 A. Reid Bards Ags. 61:
A birdie fluttered oot an' in, A little rosy lintie.
2. In Sh.: the twite, Acanthis flavirostris (Sh. 1899 Evans and Buckley Fauna Sh. 89, 1955 L. Venables Birds, etc. 113).
Sh. 1898 J. Burgess Tang ii.:
Du's aboot as muckle laek her as a deuk is laek a lintie.
3. Fig.: a sprightly, gay girl (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Lth., Rxb., Uls. 1961); also in a bad sense, a malevolent or depraved woman.
Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 107:
Shü's yokkit some ane else wi pooer; Yea, yon ane is a lintie o it … Shü'll better watch her lawless tongue.
4. A song, ditty, phs. by confusion with liltie, Lilt (ne.Sc. 1961).
Abd. 1950 Buchan Observer (28 Nov.):
Every encouragement was given towards the establishment of sessions of song and story; and … some of these illiterates had a fine opportunity to score if they could “come aff wi' a wee bit lintie.”
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"Lintie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Feb 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/lintie>
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