One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sticky substance spread on to twigs to trap small birds.
- ‘I learn from the notes on my copy of Aesop's Fables that the ancient Greeks caught birds with ixos (‘birdlime’), a sticky substance usually made from crushed mistletoe berries, or sometimes from oak-gum or similar.’
- ‘Sulphur, along with charcoal and birdlime, was a principal component of 16th century gunpowder, and a method of producing it from copperas stones was discovered in 1570.’
- ‘Like the heedless bird that finds itself caught in a net or in birdlime: the more it beats its wings and strives to get loose, the more it entangles itself.’
- ‘Oh, what unutterable corruption sticks, like birdlime, to all our motives, all our thoughts, all our words, all our actions!’
- ‘The figure is that of a bird caught by alighting upon a twig smeared with the sticky substance called birdlime.’
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