One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A mainly ground-dwelling songbird of open country, typically having brown streaky plumage.
Family Motacillidae: three genera, in particular Anthus, and many species, including the sparrow-sized water pipit (A. spinoletta) of the northern hemisphere
- ‘In addition, killdeer, pipits and some shorebirds visit the grassy areas of landfills.’
- ‘Skylarks, wheatears, pipits and greylag geese fill any silences that remain.’
- ‘The pipit flew overhead in noisy flocks and actually landed in the short grass long enough for the group to deploy a couple of scopes.’
- ‘Most observations relate to larks, pipits and finches but kestrels are capable of taking such quarry as fieldfares, turtle doves and lapwing.’
- ‘I have seen them feeding at the tidemark with snow buntings and pipits and they also find seeds in the marram hills.’
Mid 18th century: probably imitative.
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