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orange (fruit / colour)

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Obeorn, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. Obeorn

    Obeorn Junior Member

    American English
    In my limited research, I’ve come across many languages that use the same (or very similar) word for orange-the-fruit as orange-the-color. Some of the languages are definitely related by source, but others are from different sources. This is a very interesting trend. I’m curious how widely spread this is. Did all these languages not have a word for the color before the fruit came around? English used an early form of yellow-red, but no one else had a word for the color?

    This link would make for an interesting exploration of word sharing and migration, but that’s for someone else to write a paper on.

    What are the word parings for your language? What languages are they not the same/similar?
  2. arielipi Senior Member

    In hebrew the fruit is called תפוז tapuz, which is acronym for תפוח זהב tap'akh zahav - gold(en) apple.
    Orange as color is כתום katom.
  3. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    In Arabic, they look the same:

    the fruit is برتقال burtuqal
    the color is برتقالي burtuqali
  4. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    In Dutch it is not at all:
    - oranje is the colour, referring back to the Indian word naranja, so I believe
    - sinaasappel (appelsien) is the fruit, referring to China, where we imported the present oranges from because they were sweeter
  5. apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi Obeorn,

    Ancient Greeks named the colour after saffron because the fruit was unknown to them:
    «Κροκόεν» krŏkóĕn (neut.) & «κρόκινον» krókīnŏn (neut.) --> saffron coloured -in Gr. the plant Crocus sativus (saffron) is «Κρόκος» krókŏs (masc.) < Possibly a name of semitic origin although the plant is indigenous to the Aegean islands and the name of its flower (and colour) appears in the Mycenaean syllabary (Linear B) as *ko-ro-ku-ra-i-io --> «κροκύλαιον» krŏkúlæŏn (neut.).
    In Modern Greek the colour is «πορτοκαλί» [portoka'li] (neut.) after the fruit: «πορτοκάλι» [porto'kali] (neut.) < It. portogallo (arancio di Portogallo)
  6. Maroseika Moderator

    In Russian we use German word for the fruit (апельсин < German Apfelsine < calque of French pomme de Sine), and French word for the colour (оранжевый < French orange << Sanskrit nāranǰ).

    However апельсиновый цвет (Apfelsine colour) is also used, although much rarer.
    Proper Russian name for this colour was descriptive: red-yellow or hot (красно-желтый, жаркий).
  7. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Finnish appelsiini (fruit), oranssi (color)

    Icelandic appelsína (fruit), appelsínugulur (color, literally, "orange-yellow"); an alternative Icelandic term for the fruit is glóaldin < gló "glow-" + aldin "fruit", and an alternative term for the color is rauðgulur "red-yellow"

    Tagalog dalandan (fruit), kahel (color); kahel can also be used for the fruit, but I think the color meaning of that word is more basic
  8. francisgranada Senior Member


    narancs (the fruit)
    narancssárga (the colour), literally orange-yellow

    Composites of this kind are possible using practically whatever fruit or objects, e.g. citromsárga (lemon-yellow), szilvakék (plum-blue), vérpiros (blood-read) ... So I can easily imagine that before the orange was known, some other fruit/flower/object had been used instead.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  9. Lurrezko

    Lurrezko Senior Member

    Junto al mar
    Spanish (Spain) / Catalan
    We use the same word for the fruit and the color in Spanish (naranja), Catalan (taronja) and Basque (laranja).

    Un saludo
  10. bibax Senior Member


    fruit: pomeranč, pomoranč, pomaranč (< pomme orange);
    colour: oranžový (< orange);
  11. Codinome Shlomo Senior Member

    Portuguese (Brazil)
    In Portuguese it is laranja for both. I guess it is because the colour used to be called "cor-de-laranja" ("colour of an orange"), and then people started calling it just "laranja".
    The colour is also called "abóbora/cor-de-abóbora" ("pumpkin").
  12. Lurrezko

    Lurrezko Senior Member

    Junto al mar
    Spanish (Spain) / Catalan
    Same in Spanish (calabaza) and Catalan (carbassa).
  13. origumi Senior Member

    "tapuz" = golden apple is a modern word (invented by Avineri) and based also on such expression in Proverbs.
    "katom" is a modern word, based on biblical ketem = gold, borrowed from Sumerian via Akkadian.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  14. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    The same in Arabic, Turkish, Bulgarian, Romanian and Persian. So, the fruit is named after the country "Portugal"
  15. ancalimon Senior Member

    Or maybe the country is named after the fruit?

    Just kidding :) Where does Portuguese laranja come from?
  16. Treaty Senior Member

    Almost all the orange names ending with -ranj- or -rang- came from Persian (via Arabic) which itself seems to be rooted in a language of Indian sub-continent. In New Persian, there are naaranj (bitter orange), toranj or toronj (sour orange), naarangi (mandarin) and baadrang (a large thick-skinned citrus).

    The common sweet orange was not native of Near East and was imported by the Portuguese (or from Portugal), therefore, it is called something like portugal in many Near Eastern languages.

    The orange colour in Persian is usually called naaranji or naarenji (after bitter orange). However, a vivid orange colour may also be called porteqaali.
  17. ilocas2 Senior Member


    orange (fruit) - naranča
    orange (colour), adjective - narančast
  18. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod

    French (lower Normandy)
    In French, same word for the fruit and colour: "orange".
  19. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog has kahel/Dalandan/ Orench.
  20. 810senior Senior Member

    That's also the case for Japanese: orenji(オレンジ) works for both fruit and color.
    But when we refer to the color of orange, we prefer to say orenji-iro(オレンジ色) literally meaning orange-colored.

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