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See more synonyms for birdlime on Thesaurus.com
  1. a sticky material prepared from holly, mistletoe, or other plants, and smeared on twigs to catch small birds that light on it.
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verb (used with object), bird·limed, bird·lim·ing.
  1. to smear with birdlime.
  2. to catch or capture, as with birdlime: to be birdlimed by flattery.
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Origin of birdlime

First recorded in 1400–50, birdlime is from the late Middle English word brydelyme. See bird, lime1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for birdlime

adhesive, plaster, mud, sand, size, gum, concrete, binder, bond, solder, glue, paste, mucilage, gunk, tar, birdlime, sealant, mortar, lime, putty

Examples from the Web for birdlime

Historical Examples of birdlime

  • Upon inquiry, however, he found that no birdlime was to be had.

    The Plant Hunters

    Mayne Reid

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

    David and the Phoenix

    Edward Ormondroyd

  • The hazels are all down, and the hollies pounded into birdlime.

  • It is the birdlime with which the devil catches many a female and male soul.

  • The flies seem an Egyptian plague, and get mortised into the oily butter, which holds them like birdlime.

British Dictionary definitions for birdlime


  1. a sticky substance, prepared from holly, mistletoe, or other plants, smeared on twigs to catch small birds
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  1. (tr) to smear (twigs) with birdlime to catch (small birds)
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper