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Orange: Which Came First, the Color or the Fruit?

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Admit it, you’ve asked this question before

The word “orange” has two definitions. One, the color orange; two, the fruit orange. But have you ever wondered which of the two came first? We looked into it and have the answer, so get ready to impress all your friends with your superior knowledge.

According to Mental Floss, the fruit’s name goes back all the way to the Sanskrit nāranga, meaning “orange tree.” This then became the Persian nārang, the Arabic nāranj, and eventually old French orenge. It finally made its way to the English orange in the 1300s, referring explicitly to the fruit.

As for the color? That didn’t appear until the early 1500s. In fact, it was probably the wider availability of the fruit that inspired people to come up with a name for the color, in a similar vein to the color peach. Before people started calling orange things orange, most linguists believe that they simply called them “yellow-red,” or ġeolurēad in Old English. 

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