Cool facts about the word "orange"

Citron is Citrus medicus

The Naranj is the Bitter Orange, Citrus aurantium

And the Valencia Orange that we think of first is Citrus Sinensis and the variety of cultivars.


Ok. Those articles go with what I said then…both C. × aurantium and C. × sinensis are given as crosses between C. maxima (pomelos) and C. reticulata (mandarins) rather than descendants of C. medica.


I will take this into consideration.


According to Citrus taxonomy - Wikipedia, Citrons and Pomelos are both pure citrus species, C. aurentium is, as you say, a Pomelo crossed with Mandarin, and C. sinensis is a distinct variant of C. aurentium.

So I was wrong to say that they’re all derived from Citrons.

In my defence: dammit Jim, I’m a linguistics geek, not a botanist.


Newton was at that liminal time when alchemy and chemistry, astronomy and astrology were still being disentangled.

He split Blue into Blue and Indigo not because he knew about the Russian language, but because he was a mystic, and was of the opinion that 7 is a more numerically meaningful number than 6. Not least to go with the seven planets: Sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. (That is, the seven known planets, where “planet” meant “wanderer”, a celestial object which visibly moved in relation to the sphere of fixed stars, as opposed to the stars themselves, which were defined by how they don’t move.)


The Orange Order is An tOrd Oráisteach, but I suppose that not many Irish speakers care about whether it sounds dignified enough.


Like Wiki says:

Fuair siad an t-ainm ón Rí Protastúnach Liam Oráiste a bhí an bua aige i gcoinne an Rí Caitliceach Seamús II Shasana sa bhliain 1690 ag Cath na Bóinne.

Wait, not everyone speaks Irish?

They got the name from the Protestant King William of Orange who had the victory over the Catholic King James II of England in the year 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne.


I am kind of curious where you got that relationship too. Not that Newton was not into mysticism, but for instance searching through his Opticks finds no mention of the planets in that context, while he gives a very definite other reason for seven colors – they correspond to the intervals of the musical scale, with orange and indigo as the semitones.

Newton's color and note wheel

Nonetheless you can see that if he had included blue and indigo together it would have been a larger slice than the others. And I think that kind of holds up…not that computer monitors replicate the spectral colors particularly well, but here is a typical example:

Electromagnetic spectrum

So I wasn’t saying that he was copying Russian, just that the two colors there are about as different as the others he separated, so unlike red and pink it’s kind of weird to me English traditionally hasn’t kept them apart. (Though now of course there are lots of cases where cyan or teal is treated as much a standard color as the others).


Technically, An tOrd Oráisteach isn’t “the Orange Order” as in the colour, it’s closer to “The Order of Orange”, where Oráisteach is an adjective derived from the noun (in this case, the placename) oráiste.

The old Irish annals and genealogies would have a similar thing: someone might be described as, say, “Ultach”, from Ulaidh + ach, “Ulsterish”. Sometimes they’d do it to show fosterage, too: a byname of Eóghanach probably indicated having been fostered in Tyrone, for example.


The orange in the Irish flag also comes from William of Orange, via the colour’s association with the Protestant cause.


The semitones, the planets, days of the week, seven sacraments, seven deadly sins, the point was that seven was an important number, and if the colours in the spectrum was similarly important, then by god there were going to be seven of them.


Orange used to start with a N, but the N migrated back to the indefinite article, so A Norange became An Orange.

Had he been around in ancient Greece, he might not even have had any word for blue!

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I sat beneath an old oak tree
And pulled apart an orange
Then poured myself a glass of scotch,
Tasty Glenmorang–


i guess ginger wasn’t available to early english speakers as well.

When I was in the Boy Scouts, I was in “Tawny Patrol”. Apparently Tawny was the precursor for the colour orange. Honestly, I’m not THAT old!

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This surprises me. I would have guessed orange came that way from the French who also have l’orange. Unless they similarly went from “une norange” to “une orange”.

On researching, the Oxford English Dictionary records the etymology as: Middle English from Old French. And confirms that the French dropped that N.

To continue the chain of associations: William of Orange, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, who is associated with the Protestant cause in those countries, was a member of the Dutch royal house, Orange-Nassau. The founder of the house was William’s great-grandfather and namesake, William the Silent, who was born into the German noble house Nassau and inherited the title of Prince of Orange through some complicated genealogy before leading the Dutch Revolt to become the first ruler of the newly independent Netherlands. The Principality of Orange in Provence, France takes its name from the central city of Orange, whose name has shifted though the ages - in the earliest written records from the Roman Empire, it is spelled Arausio, and in later medieval texts it morphed into Aurengia, then Orenga, and finally Orange (though it is still spelled Aurenja in Occitan). And as explained in Wikipedia, the meaning of the name had nothing to do with any fruit or color:

But by the time when William the Silent had to pick symbols for his newly minted house Orange-Nassau in the 16th century, the name of the fruit coming from India (as explained excellently by @catsidhe) and the Gaulish name of the city had both come to sound alike, so the color orange was a natural choice - though, essentially, a pun.


I’ll just leave Alexia Juliana Marcela Laurentien, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau here.