If you've ever had lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange marmalade, in calling it that you are being etymologically inaccurate. The word marmalade came from the French word marmelade, which came from the Portugese word marmalada (which is a geographically curious transition). These words all had the same definition, but marmalada came from marmelo, which specifically meant "a preserve made from a quince fruit". Thus begins a long tradition of marmalade's etymology specifically referring to one fruit, as this came from the Latin term melimelum, which translated as "apple and quince fruits smooshed into one preserve". Going further back, the quince fruit got left out entirely, with the Greeks' invention of melimelon, or "apple honey". The meli ("honey") part came from the Proto-Indo-European word melit, meaning "honey", and the melon ("apple") part came from the Doric word malon, meaning "apple", which came from a hypothesized Mediterranean language I've already had several encounters with.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd