3 replies

  1. The word orange is derived from a Dravidian language, and it passed through numerous other languages including Sanskrit and Old French before reaching the English language.
    The earliest uses of the word in English refer to the fruit, and the colour was later named after the fruit. Before the English-speaking world was exposed to the fruit, the colour was referred to as “yellow-red” (geoluread in Old English) or “red-yellow”.

    Old French and Anglo-Norman used the word orenge.The earliest recorded use of the word in English is from the 13th century and referred to the fruit. The earliest attested use of the word in reference to the colour is from the 16th century. It is generally thought that Old French borrowed the Italian melarancio (“fruit of the orange tree”, with mela “fruit”) as pume orenge (with pume “fruit”). Although pume orenge is attested earlier than melarancio in available written sources, lexicographers believe that the Italian word is actually older.

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  2. from the Oxford Dictionary:
    Orange has almost no perfect rhymes. The only word in the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary that rhymes with orange is sporange, a very rare alternative form of sporangium (a botanical term for a part of a fern or similar plant).

    Silver is another word for which it is almost impossible to find a perfect rhyme: the only candidate is the rare word chilver, which the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary defines as ‘a ewe-lamb’ (i.e. a female lamb).

    Both orange and silver do have half-rhymes, though: the Oxford Rhyming Dictionary gives lozenge as a half-rhyme for orange, for example, and salver as a half-rhyme for silver.

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  3. I think the name derives from the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family. Dutch football supporters wave orange banners.There is a builder with premises near me named “Gorringe” which rhymes with “Orange”. On QI some while ago this question was asked and Stephen Fry mentioned that the outfitters for his prep school were named “Gorringe”. This caused much mirth amongst the panellists. Phill Jupitus asked, “And which side does the young sir dress?”

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