Etymology
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lime (n.1)
"chalky, sticky mineral used in making mortar," from Old English lim "sticky substance, birdlime;" also "mortar, cement, gluten," from Proto-Germanic *leimaz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Danish lim, Dutch lijm, German Leim "birdlime"), from PIE root *(s)lei- "slime, slimy, sticky" (source also of Latin limus "slime, mud, mire," linere "to smear;" see slime (n.)).

Bird-lime is prepared from the bark of the holly, it was spread on twigs and used for catching small birds. The lime used in building, etc. 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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lime (n.2)
"greenish-yellow citrus fruit," 1630s, probably via Spanish lima or Portuguese limão, said to be from Arabic lima "citrus fruit," from Persian limun, in reference to the Persian lime, which might be a hybrid of the "Key" lime and the lemon; the word is perhaps from or related to Sanskrit nimbu "lime."

The Key lime indigenous to India and the Malay archipelago (Arabs introduced it to the Levant, North Africa, Spain, and Persia in the Middle Ages); compare Malay (Austronesian) limaw "lime," also, generically, "citrus fruit," which might be the ultimate source. Yule and Burnell think the English got the word from the Portuguese in India. Lime-green as a color is from 1890.
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lime (n.3)
"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- began in compounds whose second element began in a labial (such as line-bark, line-bast). An ornamental European tree, it is unrelated to the tree that produces the citrus fruit.
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bird-lime (n.)
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; hence bird (n.) "jail" (by 1924).
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lime-juicer (n.)
"British sailor; English person," 1857; see limey. In reference to lime-juice "the juice of the lime" (1704), which was popular 19c. as an antiscorbutic and stocked on vessels bound on long voyages. Lime-water (1670s) was the usual word for "solution of lime (n.1) in water."
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limeade (n.)
1868, from lime (n.2) with ending as in lemonade. Earlier was lime punch (1774).
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limestone (n.)
late 14c., from lime (n.1) + stone (n.). So called because it yields lime when burnt. Another name for it, mostly in American English, is limerock.
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limy (adj.)
1550s, "resembling or coated with lime," from lime (n.1) + -y (2). Of soil, etc., "containing lime," 1670s. Related: Liminess.
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limelight (n.)
1826, popular name for Drummond light or calcium light, a brilliant light created by the incandescence of lime (n.1); adopted for lighthouses and later for the Victorian stage, where it illuminated the principal actors, hence the figurative use of the phrase in the limelight "on stage, at the center of attention" (1877).
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quicklime (n.)

"caustic lime, lime not yet slaked with water," late 14c., from quick (adj.) "living" + lime (n.1). A loan-translation of Latin calx viva. So called perhaps for being unquenched, or for the vigorousness of its qualities; compare Old English cwicfyr "sulfur."

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