Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[burd-lahym] /ˈbɜrdˌlaɪm/
a sticky material prepared from holly, mistletoe, or other plants, and smeared on twigs to catch small birds that light on it.
verb (used with object), birdlimed, birdliming.
to smear with birdlime.
to catch or capture, as with birdlime:
to be birdlimed by flattery.
Origin of birdlime
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50, birdlime is from the late Middle English word brydelyme. See bird, lime1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for birdlime
Historical Examples
  • Yet this is that wherewith the world is taken, and runs mad to gaze on—clothes and titles, the birdlime of fools.

  • He described the merits of deadfalls, snares, steel traps, and birdlime.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • He then put some of the birdlime into their eyes, and fixed their eyelids together, so that they could not open them.

    Santal Folk Tales A. Campbell
  • From this it would appear, that fowlers stood behind trees, and used reeds tipped with birdlime, for the purpose of taking birds.

  • “This bagful, your lordship,” replied Peronnik, showing the cloth-bag which he had stuffed with feathers and birdlime.

    Breton Legends Anonymous
  • Family pride was a kind of birdlime with old Dalton, and if he but touched, he could not leave it.

    The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Charles James Lever
  • The flies seem an Egyptian plague, and get mortised into the oily butter, which holds them like birdlime.

  • birdlime is prepared from the tenacious milky juice of the Peepul and the Banyan.

    Flowers and Flower-Gardens David Lester Richardson
  • It bears a very slimy white berry, of which birdlime may be made, whence its Latin name of Viscus.

    Children's Literature Charles Madison Curry
  • I have heard of one boy catching 50 in a season with birdlime; for these he got a few pence apiece in Warrington.

    In a Cheshire Garden Geoffrey Egerton-Warburton
British Dictionary definitions for birdlime


a sticky substance, prepared from holly, mistletoe, or other plants, smeared on twigs to catch small birds
(transitive) to smear (twigs) with birdlime to catch (small birds)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for birdlime

viscous sticky stuff prepared from holly bark and used to catch small birds, mid-15c., from bird (n.1) + lime (n.1). Used as rhyming slang for time (especially time in prison) by 1857.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for birdlime

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for birdlime

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for birdlime