Apparently the fruit orange came before the color; before its introduction, people just called the hue geoluread, which translates to "yellow-red". The word was borrowed at the beginning of the fifteenth century from Anglo-Norman orenge, which, through Medieval Latin, is from Italian arancia. That traces to Arabic naranj, which goes back to Persian narang, and ultimately derives from Sanskrit narangas, referring to the tree (that has an unknown origin but is regarded as probably coming from a Dravidian language). You can see how the word traveled along with the fruit being traded, which is really interesting. Interesting side note: a lot of people say that nothing rhymes with orange, but the Oxford English Dictionary actually lists the rare word sporange as meaning "a receptacle containing spores", so that's not quite true.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.