orange (fruit / colour)

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

  1. Obeorn

    Obeorn 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

    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

    Czech (Prague)

    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 (AL 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

    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.
  21. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    In Hindi, the fruit can be called santaraa (named after Sintra in Portugal), naarangii, or naarang. The colour is called naarangii.
  22. Holger2014 Senior Member

    In German:
    Apfelsine - the fruit
    Orange / orange - the fruit or the colour
    orangefarben - lit. orange-coloured - the colour
  23. Messquito

    Messquito Senior Member

    台灣台北 Taipei, Taiwan
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    In Chinese:
    Orange (noun, the color) =色 (色 is seldom dropped)
    Orange (adjective, the color) =色的 or 橘(色)
    Orange (noun, fruit) =
    With the help of 色(color), 子(used in many fruit/food names like 梨子、李子、棗子、柿子), we never get them mixed up, although they have the same root.
  24. ilocas2 Senior Member

    this is interesting, so orange is understood as kind of yellow in Hungarian..............
  25. AmaryllisBunny

    AmaryllisBunny Senior Member

    In Vietnamese, both words are "cam," although the distinction can be made by adding "màu" (color) in front, such as màu cam (literally: color orange).

    In the French as DearPrudence said:
    It is worth noting that the fruit is feminine and the color is masculine.
  26. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    The fruit - apelsin (äpple från Kina - apple from China)
    The colour - orange or brandgul (burning yellow)

    Brandgul is the old Swedish word for the colour, but orange is taking over as the name of the colour. Brandgul is still used in the name of several wild mushrooms and flowers.
  27. WestFevalia

    WestFevalia Senior Member

    French - France
    I've seen in an old Latin dictionary that the Latin word for orange (fruit) was malum medicum (medical/magical apple). For the colour, it was inauratus (golden).
    People probably used somethng like golden before they knew what an orange is.
  28. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    It reminds me of something like that we sometimes call the orange color 橙色(橙 is a species of orange tree).
  29. Messquito

    Messquito Senior Member

    台灣台北 Taipei, Taiwan
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    ^We have that use, too.
    橘=mandarin orange (the color is deeper than the common western orange)=tangerine
    For us, orange(橙) appears more yellow than orange, so the definitions may vary.
  30. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    We have these too in Greek with similar names:

    «Νεράντζι» [neˈɾanʣ͡i] (neut.) --> bitter orange, and the tree «νεραντζιά» [neɾanʣ͡iˈa] (fem.) < Venetian naranza < Persian نارنگ (naaranj).
    My grandmother used to make a spoon sweet with whole, small, green (underripe) bitter oranges called «γλυκό νεραντζάκι» [ɣliˈko neɾanˈʣ͡aci] (both neut.) --> sweet little-naaranj that was very tasty (and indeed very sweet).
    Interstingly, in Cyprus the fruit is called «κιτρόμηλο» [ciˈtromilo] (neut.) --> citrus-apple and the tree «κιτρομηλιά» [citromiˈʎa] (fem.).

    Mandarin is «μανταρίνι» [mandaˈɾini] (neut. nom. sing.), «μανταρίνια» [mandaˈɾiɲa] (neut. nom. pl.) < It. "mandarino" (masc. sing.), "mandarini" (masc. pl.); Greek wiki says that the Italian word comes from the Portuguese "mandarim".
    The tree is «μανταρινιά» [mandaɾiˈɲa] (fem.).
  31. Stoggler

    Stoggler Senior Member

    Sussex, GBR
    UK English
    Welsh has oren for both the fruit and the colour, presumably a loan from English.
  32. spindlemoss

    spindlemoss Senior Member

    Yep. 15th century is the earliest record of it in Welsh, from English.

    Cornish has owraval (owr "gold" + aval "apple") for the fruit and rudhvelyn (rudh "red" + melyn "yellow") for the colour.

    Manx uses noirid for the fruit and jiarg-bwee (jiarg "red" + bwee "yellow") for the colour.
  33. Anja.Ann

    Anja.Ann Senior Member

    In Italian, "arancio": the colour (orange) and the orange tree; "arancia" is the fruit of the orange tree.

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