1. Mr. Bunions Senior Member

    English / Canada
    Hopefully I can get this settled once and for all, this seems to be the place to do it. How do you say lime in Spanish (small and green) and how do you say lemon (larger and yellow)... I'm guessing different countries will have different ways of saying it. I'm most interested in how Mexicans living in the U.S. would say it because of what I'm translating, but I'm curious about other countries too. Thanks in advance!
  2. Railway Senior Member

    Hi Mr. Bunions

    In Spain, and as far as I know in the other Spanish-speaking countries, lime is lima and lemon is limón.
  3. gecheverria New Member


    I am Spanish and I have lived in Mexico, As Railway said

    Lime == lima
    Lemon == limón
  4. Mr. Bunions Senior Member

    English / Canada
    thanks! i guess that settles it...
  5. Jellby

    Jellby Senior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    But lime is also "tilo" ;)
  6. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    The -on ending is an augmentative. It makes the word for lemon in spanish look like "big lime".

    As to "tilo", I´ve never heard, seen that, but with at least three words for "banana", nothing surprises me anymore
  7. gecheverria New Member


    En español, el Tilo (Tilia platyphyllos) es un árbol. Aunque su traducción al ingles es "Lime Tree", no se trata de un limonero.

    Las hojas de este árbol se llaman "Tila", que es utilizado como calmante en infusiones.

    In Spanish, Tilo (Tilia platyphyllos) it is a tree. Although its translation to English is "Lime Tree" , it is not a lemon tree.

    The leaf of this tree is call "Tila" that is used as sedative in infusions.
  8. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    I looked in the WR dict. and although it calls tila, lime blossom, that is not what we know this herb by in AmE. (I don´t think ...) it´s rather something along the lines of chamomile, growing on a small, perhaps woody, plant with herbal properties
  9. mithrellas

    mithrellas Senior Member

    Spanish & catalan - Catalonia (Spain)
    1. m. Fruto del limonero, de color amarillo, forma ovoide y pulpa en gajos de sabor ácido.
    2. Árbol que da este fruto.
    3. Bebida refrescante realizada con zumo de limón:
      ron con limón.
    1. f. Fruto del limero, de forma esferoidal aplanada, corteza lisa y amarilla y pulpa de sabor algo dulce dividida en gajos:
      zumo de lima.
    2. limero, árbol de la lima.
    In this case 'ón' is not an augmentative. The same happens with words like 'melón', 'camión'... which are not augmentative.

    Maybe someone else could explain it a little better, that is the best I can do in English. :)
  10. mcmc

    mcmc Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish

    This could sound a little confusing but that is the way it is, and I hope that helps Mr. Buinions:

    In Spain, lemon is the large and yellow fruit, and lime is the small and green one.

    In Venezuela, lemon is the smaller and green fruit, and lime is the larger and yellow one.

    Have a nice day,
  11. Gaby B New Member

    Spanish - Mexico
    In Mexico it is just the opposite as some people here have said:

    "Limón" is small and green, which I have found in some places in the USA call Lime.

    "Lima" is larger and yellow, which I have found some people in USA call Lemon.

    I hope this helps.
  12. mariposita

    mariposita Senior Member

    US, English
    In America, tila is Linden flower or leaves. It comes from a big tree (Tilo/Linden tree--I had one in my front yard growing up).
  13. Jenbojens Member

    English , United States
    I've also heard that lime and lemon are both "limon" ( el o con accento -- lo siento) is this true? You can just say limon and if it really matters you add verde or amarillo ..?
  14. LucíayMiguel Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain
    No. In Spain "lime" is "lima" and "lemon" is "limón", to different citrics that come from two different trees. They also taste different.
  15. Gaby B New Member

    Spanish - Mexico
    Also in México, "lime" (which is Limón) and Lemon (which is Lima) are very different and a mexican food that uses "limones" would not taste the same with "limas" at all... Lima for us is too sweet...
  16. Moritzchen Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Spanish, USA
    I believe Tilo is Linden. Lime is Lima and lemon is limón
  17. Maeron Senior Member

    Mexico City
    Canada, English
    I don't know if Mexicans in the U.S. would say it differently, but in Mexico, limón is a small green lime (generally 3 to 6 cm long) which is more sour than what we know as a lime. You can substitute the juice for any North American recipe that calls for lemon juice. Although it looks like what we know as a lime, you can basically consider it a lemon. Lima is slightly larger, paler green, and although it's not what you would call really sweet, it is sweet enough to eat out of hand. The large, yellow lemons that we know in Canada and U.S. are not found in Mexico, at least not here in central Mexico.
  18. lforestier

    lforestier Senior Member

    San Antonio, TX USA
    Puerto Rico - Spanish/English
    You aren't the only one to be confused.
    In Puerto Rico, limon is yellow and lima is green and sour.
    When I moved to Mexico, I discovered that the limon used for drinks, and cooking was small and green. I thought it was a different type of lemon. But one day at Walmart de Mexico, I saw nice yellow lemons with a big sign above advertising Limas.
    So go figure.
  19. Victorita Member

    El Salvador, Spanish
    I agree with Maeron. I am from El Salvador and to us limón is the small green and sour fruit and lima is a bigger, paler green, slightly sweet fruit. I don't know if it is its own fruit or if it is a cross between a limón and an orange. I'm glad to see there is someone else who shares these definitions!

  20. Victorita Member

    El Salvador, Spanish
    This is Victorita again. I forgot why I even got into the Forum to begin with! How would you translate limeade? As a Salvadorean I would translate it as Limonada, but as someone from the US, I'm not sure. Help! Thanks.

  21. Luzyg Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Colombia- Spanish
    In Colombia, we use these terms as in El Salvador, according to Victorita´s explanation:
  22. mazbook

    mazbook Senior Member

    Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
    United States/México, English
    The limón of México is the small, green fruit known as a "key lime" in the U.S. Also, in México there are other, larger limes, usually sold as limón (varios nombres), these are like the limes most commonly sold in the U.S. The fruit sold as lemons in the U.S. (larger and yellow) is rarely seen in México and, when seen, is called either lima or limón amarillo.

    limeade = limonada
    lemonade = no hay, no existe en México
  23. loladamore

    loladamore Senior Member

    Zacatecas, México
    English UK
    I know it's confusing, as it depends on the country what is called which (or which is called what?). You can look at limón and lime if you want to get even more confused. I suppose you need to know exactly what kind of citrus fruit you are referring to in each case, and then know what it is called in the country you are translating for! :eek:

    My own personal summary would be:

    lemon = large, yellow fruit; use juice, couldn't eat a whole one
    limón = small, green fruit; use juice, couldn't eat a whole one

    lime = medium green fruit, much sweeter than lemon, can eat a whole one
    lima = large yellow fruit, much sweeter than limón, can eat a whole one

    Does that help at all???
  24. Juliomelecio

    Juliomelecio Senior Member

    Valencia, Ve
    Español Venezuela
    In Vzla, lemon (limón) is small and sour, may be either yellow or green, however lima is very rare, and the ones I've known are imported, are larger and greenish.
  25. aurilla Senior Member

    Puerto Rico
    Am Eng/PR Spanish
    I agree with these three translations. However, in Puerto Rico most people make no distinction between lemons and limes. They will usually call limes "lemons," and limes are abundant throughout the island. When referring to "lemons" they will frequently call them "big lemons."
  26. mazbook

    mazbook Senior Member

    Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
    United States/México, English
    Those first two, with the slight change I made, is what is true in México and Central America. I definitely don't agree with the last two, as everything I know as lemon, limón, lime, and lima definitely isn't sweet and I don't think I (or most anyone) could EVER eat one.
  27. karitoVT New Member

    espanol - Argentina
    In Argentina also Lime means lima and lemon limon as in US, the first one is small and green and the second bigger an yellow. Limeade es un jugo de lima exprimida, y no es comun como la limonada q es un jugo de limon exprimido, dos cosas distintas!!!
  28. silviantonia Member

    Pensilvania, EEUU
    español, Cuba
    En Cuba, mis queridos colegas, we had very small limones verdes, which I found again in Mexico lindo y querido. The yellow limones were gringo limones... we also had large, orange size limas (limes) which were not as sour by half as the limones verdes (or green lemons) of my beautiful islita. So I still call, to confound my five children and my friends, all small green round sour objects green lemons... I have never again seen a lima (green lime) such as I saw in Cuba in these United States of Torture.
  29. micafe

    micafe Senior Member

    United States
    Spanish - Colombia
    In Spanish we don't differentiate between 'limes' and 'lemons'. We call them both 'limones'. They taste very similar, but look different.

    Incidentally, in the tropics we have many types of 'limones', it would be a problem to have a different name for each one. The thing is, that they all taste similar, very sour, some more than others.

    'Lima' is a completely different fruit, more similar to an orange but less tasty.
  30. Vinaigre New Member

    english, venezuela
    I´m a chef working in Venezuela, and this seems to be the general usage here:

    limon: small, green, sour, ubiquitous (English "lime", "lima" in Spain)
    lima: larger, yellow, sweeter, rare (English "lemon", "limon" in Spain)

    Lemons ("limones" in Spain) are sometimes known as "limon frances" ("French lemon"). We received a shipment recently from Merida (in the Andes) and processed them immediately in the style of Moroccan preserved lemons.

    Maybe this is helpful.
  31. jogoro New Member

    Hola amigos:

    Espero que esto clarifique de una vez por todas.

    Limon: Hay dos clases; 1.-con semilla (limon mexicano o limon agrio)
    2.-sin semilla (limon persa o seedless)
    ambos son verdes. El persa o sin semilla es mas grande que el mexicano o agrio. En Estados Unidos lo llaman equivocadamente Lime.

    Limon Amarillo (o Italiano): Es el limon que mas se usa en Estados Unidos y perdiendo terreno.

    Lima: Es una fruta completamente distinta aunque de la misma familia.

    Es mas grande que todos los limones mencionados arriba. Su sabor es neutro, no sabe a nada. No es dulce ni agrio o acido. Su carne es blanca, no amarilla ni verde. La cascara es amarilla palida. Se usa mucho en Yucatan para preparar la SOPA DE LIMA. ! Sí sopa ¡


  32. jlcolmaster Senior Member

    Colombian spanish
    Here in Colombia Limón is small and green.and Lima is big and yellow.
  33. JosMex New Member

    I agree with jlcolmaster, in Mexico, Lime (small and green) is LIMON, in the other case; Lemon (larger and yellow) is LIMA. But in this forum we colud see that we have different definitions and depends in what country we lived.
  34. Zeprius

    Zeprius Senior Member

    Argentina / Spanish

  35. ItalianGuyinUSA New Member

    Morgantown, W.Va.
    United Kingdom/English & Italian
    OK. There seems to be some controversy over the definitions of the English words "Lime" and "Lemon" in Spanish. Let's get the absolute correct definitions here: they are the opposite of what one would expect in English: namely "Limón" is not lemon, but lime, the smaller green, citrus fruit; "Lima" is not lime, but the larger, yellow citrus fruit. There it is, plain and simple.
  36. Jeromed Banned

    USA, English
    Not so easy. Read here.
  37. ItalianGuyinUSA New Member

    Morgantown, W.Va.
    United Kingdom/English & Italian
    Thanks for the link, which I read. If you are going to have bilingual descriptions on different grocery articles, for example, then you have to pick one term for each fruit -- there is no either or. If you have something describing a flavour, it can only be one term. I stand by what I say. However, I am very grateful that you took the time to let me share your views. I spent a lot of time in Spain, and it took me a while to get used to the names being (basically) the opposite of those in English. Furthermore, I also learnt how the indefinite article in English used before nouns beginning with a vowel (an, instead of a) was due in part to the Spanish word for orange (Naranjo), and it was orginally called a norange! Thanks again, Luigi.
  38. Jeromed Banned

    USA, English
    Thanks for the message.
    I had to look up the term lima because in Latin America it often refers to a citrus that resembles a yellow-colored orange, and is very different from the USA and British lime or lemon. It's not sour at all, but blandly sweet.
    This notwithstanding, the descriptor lemon-lime is always translated as lima-limón on this side of the pond.
    According to the article, the confusion with the names in Spanish started right after all these citrus varieties were introduced in Europe!
  39. Victorita Member

    El Salvador, Spanish
    Creo por todas las respuestas que no en todos los países existe la lima como la conozco yo, por lo tanto no existe la definición para dicha fruta. Definitivamente limas y limones son diferentes y depende de la región donde uno vive.

    Gracias por un interesante hilo.

  40. luisdiazyo Member

    Español-English Venezuela
    In Venezuela it's the same, just that, from what I thought, limes were the yellow and larger ones and lemons were the green and smaller ones.

    In any case:
    Lime = Lima.
    Lemon = Limón.
  41. photosilva New Member

    first of all i have to tell people that when margarita was invented in 1934 and all the invections that were made after that year were in fact all done with lime juice and never with lemon juice.the fact that the latin american people call lime fruit of limon which means lemon in european standards,doesnt mean that we have to go all stupid and think that actually margarita is made from lemon juice rather than lime juice.if you want to know the reality try to find out when actually lemon were intruduced in mexico because at that time was really dificult to find lemons in mexico.
    yes,its true ,everything was made of limes and even today lime is the actual prencipal fruit.limon is lime and lima is lemon,the other way around applies in europe,even the brasilians have the same method as the mexicans.hopefully this will help
  42. trefall123 New Member

    I hope I can help future viewers of this thread with a few simple points. Since the original post asked about 'Mexicans' I'll restrict my response to Mexico. #1 - limon is lime as you would see in US/Can. Seeded or seedless varieties. #2 - limon real is the standard version of the US/Can lemon and is rare in most of Mexico unless there is a large population base with many chain-stores and a lot of Americans or Canadians or in DF. #3 - lima is the 'blandy' 'watery' orangish-flavored citrus fruit someone else referred to. The outside is normally green-yellow as with most Mexican oranges. You will never forget the flavor of a lima if you taste one. [Just so you have an idea - smash 30 green oranges and put them in a bucket for 2 weeks. Then rinse the bucket well. several times. Wait 6 months, then put water in the bucket and drink. That water with some sort of orange taste is the flavor of a lima. As with most modern Mexican words, it depends on where you are when you ask, as to the response you receive.
  43. plgol

    plgol Member

    USA English
    He notado que en muchos lugares de America Latina no se distingue entre lima y limon, que la gente casi siempre dice limon para limon y lima. Por ejemplo, en Mexico se toma tequila con limon, pero en realidad botanicamente es una lima, no limon. Solo en los mercados he visto el uso de lima. Por que sera? En ingles, se mantiene la distincion siempre entre "lime" y "lemon". Es verdad lo que he observado?
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
  44. MAGUANÁ Senior Member

    Te puedo decir que en España se distingue entre lima y limón.
    Quizá sea un fenómeno exclusivo de México. Habría que ver lo que sucede en otros paises, pero me parece que la confusión no es tan generalizada como supones.

  45. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    Piensan Uds. que tendre a ver con "-ón" (grande) - (???'tendre' existe??? qiero decir "tener")

    Lima -> Limón

    Lime -> Big lime

    ?Vale? o ?es un poco imaginario?
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
  46. mgortiz Member

    this maybe a little confusing, I am from Mexico, Michoacan to be exact. In Michoacan we have Limon verde and Limon Amarilli and we have Limas. Lemon Verde is what in the U.S. they call Lime, Limon Amarillo is what in the U.S. they call Lemon. Now, Lima in Michoacan is a complete different thing, is a sweet light green big in size fruit. so in conclusion i think it depends where your from and what's available to you.

    Lime = Limon Verde
    Lemon = Limon Amarillo

    Lima is a whole different thing..

    Hope this helps..
  47. jessi330 Member

    Buenos Aires, AR
    English-USA, Nebraska
    I always had this lime/lemon confusion.

    In the US, there is lemonade from lemons (large yellow) and usually with added sugar. It's a sweet drink.
    Limeade in the US is made from limes (small green) and is usually more sour.
  48. Todd The Bod Senior Member

    Ngo hai ni doh
    In the restaurants in my city the Latinos always use "limon" for lemon and lime. Is there no distinction in Spanish, or is the usage I'm always seeing incorrect?
  49. luispezglobo Senior Member

    as far as i know limon and lime are 2 different fruits, yes there is a distinction in spanish, would be limon for lemon, lima for lime
  50. HermanaHondureña Senior Member

    USA - English
    Todd, I am guessing you are from the Chicago area since you have the "Da Bears" quote by your name :) I am also from the Chicago area and I can't think of a time that I have heard anyone say lima.

    When I have asked people to differentiate, the Spanish speakers I know have just said "limón verde" to mean lime.

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