Words related to lime

slime (n.)

"Any soft, ropy, glutinous, or viscous substance" [Century Dictionary], Old English slim "soft mud," from Proto-Germanic *slimaz (source also of Old Norse slim, Old Frisian slym, Dutch slijm "slime, phlegm," German Schleim "slime"), which is probably related to Old English lim "birdlime; sticky substance."

This is from a PIE root *(s)lei- "slimy, sticky, slippery" (source also of Sanskrit linati "sticks, stays, adheres to; slips into, disappears;" Russian slimak "snail;" Old Church Slavonic slina "spittle;" Old Irish sligim "to smear," leinam "I follow," literally "I stick to;" Welsh llyfn "smooth;" Greek leimax "snail," limne "marsh, pool, lake," alinein "to anoint, besmear;" Latin limus "slime, mud, mire," linere "to daub, besmear, rub out, erase").

As an insult to a person from mid-15c. Figuratively, of anything clinging and offensive, 1570s. Slime-mold, common name for a type of fungi, is from 1880.

linden (n.)

"lime tree," 1570s, noun use of an adjective, "of linden wood," from Old English lind "linden" (n.), from Proto-Germanic *lindjo (source also of Old Saxon linda, Old Norse lind, Old High German linta, German linde), probably from PIE *lent-o- "flexible" (see lithe); with reference to the tree's pliant bast. Compare Russian lutĭijó "forest of lime trees," Polish łęt "switch, twig," Lithuanian lenta "board, plank."

For modern tree names from adjectives, compare aspen. OED suggests the use of the adjective as a noun is at least partly creditable to "translations of a German romance" (German linden is the plural form and the form used in compounds).

lemon (n.1)

"ovate, pale yellow citrus fruit," c. 1400, lymon, from Old French limon "citrus fruit" (12c.), which comes via Provençal or Italian from Arabic laimun, Persian limun. Apparently brought from India to the Levant by the Arabs 9c. or 10c.; the word is perhaps ultimately from an Austronesian word of the Malay archipelago, such as Balinese limo "lemon," Malay limaw "citrus fruit, lime" (compare lime (n.2)).

Meaning "person with a tart disposition" is from 1863. For the sense "worthless thing," see lemon (n.2). Slang meaning "a Quaalude" is 1960s, from Lemmon, name of a pharmaceutical company that once manufactured the drug. The surname is from Middle English leman "sweetheart, lover." Lemon-juice is attested from 1610s; the candy lemon-drop from 1807. The East Indian lemon-grass (1837) is so called for its smell.

limeade (n.)

1833, from lime (n.2) with ending as in lemonade. Earlier was lime punch (1774).

limey (n.)

1888, Australian, New Zealand, and South African slang for "English immigrant," short for lime-juicer (1857), a nickname given in derisive reference to the British Navy's policy (begun 1795) of issuing lime (n.2) juice on ships to prevent scurvy among sailors. U.S. use is attested from 1918, originally "British sailor, British warship;" extended to "any Englishman" by 1924.

Midway Signs Limey Prof to Dope Yank Talk ["Chicago Tribune" headline, Oct. 18, 1924, in reference to the hiring of William A. Craigie by University of Chicago to begin editing what would become the "Dictionary of American English"]
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).


from Sanskrit himalayah, literally "abode of snow," from hima "snow" (from PIE *ghi-mo-, from root *gheim- "winter") + alayah "abode," derivative of layate "sticks, stays," from PIE root *(s)lei- "sticky" (see lime (n.1)). Related: Himalayas; Himalayan.

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."

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).

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.