General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Oranges. Which came first, the fruit or the color?

Asked by AstroChuck (37461points) August 14th, 2008 from iPhone

Is the color named for the fruit or is the opposite true? And more importantly, why doesn’t anything rhyme with orange? That’s just wrong.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

43 Answers

Lovelocke's avatar

The color came first in order to be applied to the orange, after the orange formed and matured as fruit.

Orange – Porridge.


wrestlemaniac's avatar

i have to agree the color first and LL it’s Orange—- Borange. there :) and there is also no word that rhymes with silver.

AstroChuck's avatar

or purple.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Purple nirple?

wrestlemaniac's avatar

you know someone should ask are there any words that have no words to rhyme with?

Lovelocke's avatar

You can’t just start changing up your question because it was debunked in the first shot… them’s cheatin’, boy!

wrestlemaniac's avatar

i didn’t ask the question AC did.

Lovelocke's avatar

I wasn’t talking to you!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

um, i don’t mean to just keep on arguing with you today, lovelocke, i think you’re cool, but those words don’t rhyme dude. maybe slant rhyme, but that’s not the same thing.

see the word is porridge, not porrenge. there’s an “n” in orange… they just don’t rhyme.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

but both are things you can eat. :D

La_chica_gomela's avatar

lol, 5 points, wrestle, you’re so observant!

MissAnthrope's avatar

Great question.. I’ve always wondered the same thing.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

it’s like asking which came first the chicken or the egg?

wrestlemaniac's avatar

welcome to the collective VI, which did come first?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

i wish i had access to the OED online in my office. it would tell us in like 10 seconds…where the heck is gail?

Lovelocke's avatar

You can rhyme “Slain” with “Saying”, proper pronunciation on both. They only have to rhyme, which is “identity in sound of some part, esp. the end, of words or lines of verse.” In this case, the “juh” at the end.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Okay, says the tree came first, including fruit, so the color must have followed, but I don’t trust like the OED…

And lovelocke, the “juh” is not enough. a rhyme means “a word agreeing with another in terminal sound”

there is no “n” in the terminal sound of porrige. They don’t rhyme!

wrestlemaniac's avatar

i have no idea what that means.

tonedef's avatar


Word History: Oranges imported to China from the United States reflect a journey come full circle, for the orange had worked its way westward for centuries, originating in China, then being introduced to India, and traveling on to the Middle East, into Europe, and finally to the New World. The history of the word orange keeps step with this journey only part of the way. The word is possibly ultimately from Dravidian, a family of languages spoken in southern India and northern Sri Lanka. The Dravidian word or words were adopted into the Indo-European language Sanskrit with the form nāraṅgaḥ. As the fruit passed westward, so did the word, as evidenced by Persian nārang and Arabic nāranj. Arabs brought the first oranges to Spain, and the fruit rapidly spread throughout Europe. The important word for the development of our term is Old Italian melarancio, derived from mela, “fruit,” and arancio, “orange tree,” from Arabic nāranj. Old Italian melarancio was translated into Old French as pume orenge, the o replacing the a because of the influence of the name of the town of Orange, from which oranges reached the northern part of France. The final stage of the odyssey of the word was its borrowing into English from the Old French form orenge. Our word is first recorded in Middle English in a text probably composed around 1380, a time preceding the arrival of the orange in the New World.

Lovelocke's avatar

@Wrestle: lol! What? You don’t know what a dictionary is?

wrestlemaniac's avatar

no….what of course i know what a dictionary is it’s just, ugh! never mind….i surrender.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

So if tonedef’s source is correct, the word “orange” originally described neither the color, nor the fruit, but the name of a french town?!? craziness!!

tondef!!!! you didn’t answer the essential question though!!!!!
you quoted,

“Our word is first recorded in Middle English in a text probably composed around 1380,”

but to what did the reference refer??? the fruit, the town, the tree, the color?!? what?!?

tonedef's avatar

From that word history, as well as from a couple other etymologies online, I think we can infer that the word we use today, “orange”, originates from the Sakskrit “anaranga,” which means the fruit.

Also, we have evidence that the fruit came first in Spanish: the word for the color (“anaranjada”) is derived from the word for the fruit (“naranja”).

simone54's avatar

It’s not funny. Someone does this same post every week.

AstroChuck's avatar


Seesul's avatar

door hinge

AstroChuck's avatar

@Lovelocke- What did you mean by “you can’t change the question just because it was debunked”? What was debunked? In what way did I change the question? I’m confused (actually, that’s a normal state of mind for me).

Dorkgirl's avatar

The spectrum of light that is “orange” existed long before the word or the fruit. So, I argue that the color existed even if it was not called “orange”, smorange, ananga, or any other thing that rhymes (or not) with “orange”.

AstroChuck's avatar

Yeah, Gail. But did they come up with a rhyme for orange in that thread?

gailcalled's avatar

AC: Interestingly enough, in the beginning (several years ago), that question came up – please don’t ask me to search for it. But the thread was in relation to some word games and not fruit.


AstroChuck's avatar

Okay. It’s official. I’ve now run out of original questions to ask. It’s been a lot of fun but I think it’s time to hang it up. See you around, everybody!

MacBean's avatar

I have tried a hundred times, I guess,
To find a rhyme for month;
I have failed a hundred times, I know,
But succeeded the hundred and one-th.

There were two men a training went.
It was in December month;
One had his bayonet thrown away,
The other had his gun th-
rown away.

– Miscellaneous Notes and Queries, August 1894

Seesul's avatar

AC: NO YOU HAVEN’T!!! sorry for yelling. Keep that mind going. Or I will have to be like that urban Disney myth the lemming.

ACCCCK!!!! Your questions make my day, as much as my Donald and duck collection. When I see them, there is always a smile on my face.

robmandu's avatar

The investigation into rhyme is in the Fluther.

That particular discussion is dated April 1st… the day when you post Answers to Fluther and people reply with the Questions.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

sorry i’m late what have i missed?

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