Lemons vs. Limes

Billy and I had an ongoing debate about the difference between lemons and limes. Namely, he felt there was none.

Apparently, in Spanish the word for lemons and limes is the same. I was flabbergasted by this discovery! 

As a weekly (or more) drinker of Sonic's large fresh fruit lemon slushes... I would not be happy if this flavor suddenly became lime instead.

Billy's original explanation to me was that limes are actually unripe lemons. This turned out to be untrue (at least according to what we researched on Wikipedia... a reliable source).

I am more convinced than ever that lemons and limes are two separate fruits. Billy has either decided to agree with me or decided to stop talking about it, thus allowing me to think that he agrees with me.

Either way, whenever Billy goes grocery shopping, I cannot just write "lemon" or "lime" on the shopping list. It's pretty much a guarantee that I will receive the exact opposite by mistake. So I always include the color.

Recently, though, when I wrote lime juice, I added "(green)" next to it. Seriously, Kroger, you are doing me no favors. This is what I saw at home after the shopping trip:

Sure, the photo shows a yellow fruit, but that bottle couldn't be any greener!

To make matters worse, I just used the lemon juice in the recipe and it tasted great! Maybe there is no difference. Maybe they are the same fruit. No idea....


  1. I just did a little googling and found out that cookie and cracker are the same Spanish word along with moth & butterfly. I guess Señor Wilson (from WJHS) was telling the truth when he talked about how rich the English language was. We have a lot of different words to say the same thing. So perhaps the general idea of lime and lemon was similar enough to not bother with a second word! But I agree...a lime slush would not hit the spot! Yuck!

  2. Most definitely not the same :) I like limeade much more than lemonade. One Spanish dictionary I checked said lime is la lima and lemon is el limón ?

  3. haha. I love this mistake. Definitely have had similar experiences. :)

  4. Rosetta Stone uses the lima and limon as well.

  5. I am not suprised to learn there is a second word option... although it may not be commonly used (at least in our house). The dictionary I used did offer only one word for both. I think every language offers more options in different areas. There are some Spanish concepts and words for which I cannot think of English translations... but I am still learning English words too!

  6. Hi Sarah, I love all your posts but up untill now I've decided to make a comment. I'm a Bolivian mom trying to teach some (very very rusty) English to my toddler while living in Spain; here they make the same diferentiation as in the US, calling "Lime" to "my" lemon, and "Lemon" to "my" yellow lemon hehehe.
    However in my country there is another fruit called "lima" (lime in English)that is like a yellow orange (in shape) but fairly sweet.

    1. Dana - hi! Thank you for commenting. It's so nice to meet you! Your response is almost exactly what some of my family told me after they read this post. In fact, they gave me a "lima". You may see it in a follow up post soon! :)

  7. I agree - they are definitely not the same thing!


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