Orange: The Fruit or The Color?

This is a never ending discussion. It is actually similar to the relation between egg and chicken 🙂 But, today we will put an end to it with this article! 🙂

Anyway, let’s be serious 🙂 Last week, we had a discussion about the names of colors. For example orange. Did our ancestors name the fruit after the color, or the color after the fruit? At first, my friends claimed that the fruit was named after the color; however, I disagreed. I gave the violet example to prove it. In my opinion, the color violet was named after the flower. When people saw similar colors to violet itself, they just named this color as violet. When it comes to orange, the situation is the same. I also found an article supoorting my discussion. It is a very funny one so I strongly recommend you to visit the website itself. I want to thank DAVEN HISKEY for this funny article.:

Today I found out the color orange was named after the fruit, not the other way around.   Before then, the English speaking world referred to the orange color as geoluhread, which literally translates to “yellow-red”.

The word orange itself was introduced to English through the Spanish word “naranja”, which came from the Sanskrit word nāraṅga, which literally means “orange tree”.  The English dropped the leading “n” and eventually we got the word “orange”.

In the early 16th century, the word orange gradually started being used to not only refer to the fruit, but also what we now know of as the color orange.

Bonus Factoids:

  • There is an orange tree in Europe called “Constable” that is estimated to be almost 500 years old.
  • Lightning kills more orange trees annually than any disease.
  • Temple Oranges and Murcott Honey Oranges are actually hybrid oranges, being crossed with tangerines.
  • Over 25 billion oranges are grown in the United States every year.  That’s enough oranges for every American to eat about 83 oranges a year.
  • Christopher Columbus brought the first orange seeds to the New World on his second voyage in 1493.  On this same voyage, he also brought seeds for lemons and citrons.
  • Navel oranges are named for their belly-button-like formations on the opposite side from the stem.  As a general rule, the bigger the navel in the orange, the sweeter it will be.
  • There is no single English word that rhymes with orange.  There are however half rhymes such as “hing”, “syringe”, “sporange”, etc.  There are also proper nouns that come very close to being a perfect rhyme with it, such as “Blorenge”, which is a mountain in Wales, and “Gorringe”, which is the last name of the US Naval Commander who discovered and named Gorringe Ridge in 1875.

Click here to reach the original text.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for another great post! That does sound like what actually happened – people were introduced to the fruit and learned its name and realised that they could use that same word to apply to other items of the same colour. I love learning about how language has evolved, so this is excellent.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Marija Dragojević on September 17, 2012 at 20:19

    Thanks for the interesting facts…For example, fact that lightning kills annually more orange trees than any desease! How strange. And about their taste… Interesting.

    Reply

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