"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[lahy-mee] /ˈlaɪ mi/ Slang: Usually Disparaging and Offensive.
noun, plural limeys.
a British sailor.
a British ship.
a British person.
Origin of limey
1885-90; see lime-juicer, -y2
Usage note
This term (and the earlier lime-juicer) was probably first applied by Americans to British sailors, used with disparaging intent and perceived as insulting. Historically, it also referred to a British immigrant in Australia. Later it became a more neutral nickname for any British person. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for limey
  • Described as thin-banded limey quartzite-uniform bands of light-greenish and dark-gray to purple bands.
  • It is adapted to limey soils of wet and dry sites and grows on coarse, shallow soils of droughty uplands.
  • Some layers were composed of erodible material, others of limey material from the bodies of marine life.
  • If the aggregate is fine-grained limey dolomite, the alkali-carbonate reaction is likely.
  • The lower elevation portion of the allotment is primarily within the silty-limey ecological site.
British Dictionary definitions for limey


a British person
a British sailor or ship
Word Origin
abbreviated from C19 lime-juicer, because British sailors were required to drink lime juice as a protection against scurvy
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for limey

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

Midway Signs Limey Prof to Dope Yank Talk ["Chicago Tribune" headline, Oct. 18, 1924]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for limey


  1. An English person: The ''Doctor'' was a lime-juicer (1888+)
  2. A British ship (1919+)

[fr the ration of lime juice given to British sailors as an antiscorbutic; the dated use for the first sense is strictly ''an English immigrant to the Antipodes''; the generalized term probably reflects the US use, ''English sailor or soldier,'' found by 1918]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for limey

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for limey

Scrabble Words With Friends