Fun Fact: Which 'Orange' came first - the colour or the fruit?

What came first, the orange, Did somebody make a random decision to name the fruit after its colour? That's how the blueberry got its name. Or did the colour get its name from the fruit?  In terms of origin stories - this one is right up there with the chicken versus the egg - although much easier to solve.


The answer is neither.  Although one did come before the other, neither was actually the first meaning of the word. The linguistic ancestor to today's word 'orange' was first used to describe the tree that the fruit grows on. The word's  roots can be traced all the way back to Sanskrit. In that language the word naranga meant 'orange tree'. Naranga evolved into the Persian word 'narang' and the Arabic work 'naranj'. If you know Spanish, these words might look very familiar - the modern Spanish word for 'orange' is 'naranja'.

As the word evolved, it eventually came to mean the fruit, not just the orange tree.  Old French adapted the Arabic word naranj as 'pomme d'orenge' - the fruit from the orange tree, or just 'orenge'.

The word didn't become to describe colour until almost 200 years later, making the fruit the clear winner.  

Question: What words can you name that rhyme with orange? Answer: Another fun fact - their aren't any words that rhyme with orange in the english language. 

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