[ 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), bird·limed, bird·lim·ing.

to smear with birdlime.
to catch or capture, as with birdlime: to be birdlimed by flattery.

Nearby words

  1. birder,
  2. birdhouse,
  3. birdie,
  4. birding,
  5. birdlike,
  6. birdman,
  7. birds,
  8. birds and the bees, the,
  9. birds of a feather (flock together),
  10. birds of a feather flock together

Origin of birdlime

First recorded in 1400–50, birdlime is from the late Middle English word brydelyme. See bird, lime1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for birdlime

British Dictionary definitions for birdlime


/ (ˈbɜːdˌlaɪm) /


a sticky substance, prepared from holly, mistletoe, or other plants, smeared on twigs to catch small birds


(tr) 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

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