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See more synonyms for lime on Thesaurus.com
  1. Also called burnt lime, calcium oxide, caustic lime, calx, quicklime. a white or grayish-white, odorless, lumpy, very slightly water-soluble solid, CaO, that when combined with water forms calcium hydroxide (slaked lime), obtained from calcium carbonate, limestone, or oyster shells: used chiefly in mortars, plasters, and cements, in bleaching powder, and in the manufacture of steel, paper, glass, and various chemicals of calcium.
  2. a calcium compound for improving crops grown in soils deficient in lime.
  3. birdlime.
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verb (used with object), limed, lim·ing.
  1. to treat (soil) with lime or compounds of calcium.
  2. to smear (twigs, branches, etc.) with birdlime.
  3. to catch with or as if with birdlime.
  4. to paint or cover (a surface) with a composition of lime and water; whitewash: The government buildings were freshly limed.
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Origin of lime1

before 900; Middle English, Old English līm; cognate with Dutch lijm, German Leim, Old Norse līm glue, Latin līmus slime; akin to loam
Related formslime·less, adjectivelime·like, adjectiveun·limed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for limed

Historical Examples

  • Betty was as incapable of flight as any bird on a limed twig.

    The Incomplete Amorist

    E. Nesbit

  • Those of the Poles flow to the Equator to get salted, limed, and warmed.

    The Giant of the North

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • When the hides or skins are in the limed state, they are gristly and firm in texture.


    K. J. Adcock

  • Long after Basterga, with an exultant smile and the words "I have limed him!"

    The Long Night

    Stanley Weyman

  • If every bush be limed, there is no bird can escape with all his feathers free.

British Dictionary definitions for limed


  1. short for quicklime, birdlime, slaked lime
  2. agriculture any of certain calcium compounds, esp calcium hydroxide, spread as a dressing on lime-deficient land
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verb (tr)
  1. to spread (twigs, etc) with birdlime
  2. to spread a calcium compound upon (land) to improve plant growth
  3. to catch (animals, esp birds) with or as if with birdlime
  4. to whitewash or cover (a wall, ceiling, etc) with a mixture of lime and water (limewash)
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Word Origin

Old English līm; related to Icelandic līm glue, Latin līmus slime


  1. a small Asian citrus tree, Citrus aurantifolia, with stiff sharp spines and small round or oval greenish fruits
    1. the fruit of this tree, having acid fleshy pulp rich in vitamin C
    2. (as modifier)lime juice
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  1. having the flavour of lime fruit
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Word Origin

C17: from French, from Provençal, from Arabic līmah


  1. any linden tree, such as Tilia europaea, planted in many varieties for ornament
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Word Origin

C17: changed from obsolete line, from Old English lind linden


  1. (intr) Caribbean slang (of young people) to sit or stand around on the pavement
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Word Origin

of unknown origin
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 limed



"chalky mineral used in making mortar," from Old English lim "sticky substance, birdlime, mortar, cement, gluten," from Proto-Germanic *leimaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Norse, Danish lim, Dutch lijm, German Leim "birdlime"), from PIE root *(s)lei- "slime, slimy, sticky" (cf. Latin limus "slime, mud, mire," linere "to smear;" see slime (n.)). Lime is made by putting limestone or shells in a red heat, which burns off the carbonic acid and leaves a brittle white solid which dissolves easily in water. Hence lime-kiln (late 13c.), lime-burner (early 14c.). As a verb, c.1200, from the noun.

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greenish-yellow citrus fruit, 1630s, probably via Spanish lima, from Arabic limah "citrus fruit," from Persian limun "lemon" (see lemon (n.1)). Related: Limeade (1892), with ending as in lemonade.

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"linden tree," 1620s, earlier line (c.1500), from Middle English lynde (early 14c.), from Old English lind "lime tree" (see linden). Klein suggests the change of -n- to -m- probably began in compounds whose second element began in a labial (e.g. line-bark, line-bast). An ornamental European tree unrelated to the tree that produces the citrus fruit.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

limed in Science


  1. A white, lumpy, caustic powder made of calcium oxide sometimes mixed with other chemicals. It is made industrially by heating limestone, bones, or shells. Lime is used as an industrial alkali, in waste treatment, and in making glass, paper, steel, insecticides, and building plaster. It is also added to soil to lower its acidity.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.