General English


  • noun calcium oxide made from burnt limestone, used to spread on soil to reduce acidity and add calcium
  • noun a citrus fruit tree, with green fruit similar to, but smaller than, lemons.
  • verb to treat acid soil by spreading lime on it


  • Specifically, calcium oxide (CaO). Also, a general term for the various chemical and physical forms of quicklime, hydrated lime, and hydraulic hydrated lime.


  • feminine A small round citrus fruit of which there are four principal species: Citrus aurantifolia, the West Indian lime, requires very hot conditions and is not usually exported; Citrus latifolia, the Persian or Tahiti lime, is rather larger and is seedless; Citrus limettiodes, the Indian or sweet lime, is grown extensively in the Middle East, India, the Caribbean and South America, and Citrus limetta, the Tunisian sweet limetta. Limes generally have a thin green skin and few pips; they are sharper and more acid than lemons, but are used in the same way. They are also available dried and as such frequently used in Middle Eastern and East Asian cooking. Often pickled with spices, salted and/or dried or preserved in soya sauce.
  • feminine Calcium hydroxide, the hydrated form of calcium oxide (E529) used in Southeast Asia to add crispness to batter, to reduce the acidity of fruits in desserts and as a component of pan. It is an important source of calcium in the diet.

Real Estate

  • verb to cover a surface with whitewash
  • verb to treat wood with calcium carbonate to give it a pale bleached appearance


  • noun a casual gathering of friends and family. A Caribbean usage later adopted by black speakers in the USA. The term is probably a back-formation from the noun limer and verb lime.


  • calcium compounds used to spread on soil to increase the pH level and correct acidity. Lime is usually applied as simple chalk or limestone. It takes time to affect the soil’s pH level.
  • a taste or aroma associated with Australian white wines made from the Riesling grape variety

Origin & History of “lime”

English has three distinct words lime, of which by far the oldest is lime the ‘chalky substance’ (OE). It goes back to a prehistoric Germanic *līm- (shared also by German leim, Dutch lijm, and Swedish limma), a variant of which also produced English loam (OE). Lime the ‘citrus fruit’ (17th c.) comes via French lime and Provençal limo from Arabic līmah ‘citrus fruit’, which was also the source of English lemon (14th c.). And lime the ‘tree’ (17th c.) is an alteration of an earlier line, a variant of lind ‘lime tree’ (the closely related linden was acquired in the 16th century, from German lindenbaum or early modern Dutch lindenboom ‘lime tree’).