Coquelicot is a bright reddish-orange color. It bears a striking resemblance to the hue of the poppy flower, and this is not without reason. When the word was first taken in as a loanword into English, it actually did refer to the flower. Over time, as poppy came to be more and more associated with the plant, coquelicot came to be less and less associated with it, and more with just the color. This was borrowed in the year 1795 from exactly the same word in French, but from here on out it gets really interesting. Coquelicot comes from the sound cocorico, which is how the French pronounce the cry of chickens. This is because, somewhere along the line, somebody thought that the poppy plant reminded them of the crest of a rooster, so decided to name it after the sound roosters make. That's the equivalent of deciding Oreos kind of look like cow skin and renaming them to Moos. Cocorico is onomatopoeic, which means that the sound is supposed to put into words the actual sounds roosters make. Funnily enough, it's the same in Serbian, of which I'm a native speaker. I think that's pretty cool.
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.