The act of sealing off an envelope by licking the flap and "gluing" it down so that the envelope becomes closed rather tightly is probably rare nowadays, but remains well known to many people.

I was wondering which component of saliva gives it the ability to glue paper tightly enough so that the envelope is considered sealed off.

Here's the link for the Wikipedia entry of saliva, for composition.

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    $\begingroup$ Water-based adhesive envelopes are not completely a thing of the past - I still get them with bills. It is the water part to pay attention to - nothing required saliva, even if some of the nicer envelopes actually tasted pretty minty. A little sponge and water was fine, and actually quite useful if sealing a number of envelopes. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Sep 13 '17 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ As @JonCuster states, the adhesive is on the lip of the envelope. $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Sep 14 '17 at 17:52

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