• orange •
Pronunciation: o-rinj, ah-rinj • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, adjective
Meaning: 1. (Noun) A sweet round citrus fruit about the size of a baseball, reddish yellow in color. 2. (Adjective) The color of the fruit.
Notes: Today's word has piled up a bizarre history as you will see below. The adjectives meaning "like an orange" are either orangy or orangish. An orangery is a greenhouse. The Orange Order is an organization sworn to uphold the Protestant Ascendency in Northern Ireland. Its members are known as Orangemen, and their doctrine is known as orangeism.
In Play: The noun orange is as commonplace a word today as the fruit it names: "Ancient mariners learned that the ravages of scurvy could be prevented by eating oranges." The adjective also refers to a color that is in every child's crayon set: "You know a pumpkin is ripe if it is orange."
Word History: Today's Good Word was quietly lifted from French orange, which, in turn, was inherited from the Old French phrase pome orenge "orange apple". The word was borrowed from Italian after Italian had shaved off the N from what was originally narancia, and is still naranza in Venice. The original (with initial N) was borrowed somehow from Arabic naranj, which had borrowed it from (Indo-European) Persian narang, which had inherited it from Sanskrit naranga-s "orange tree". Sanskrit borrowed it from a Dravidian language spoken in southern India. The current Dravidian languages include Kannada, where today the word for "orange" is naranji and Malayalam, where it is naranna. (Let's offer Susan Maynard an e-hug for suggesting this, her second Good Word, this one with an elaborate history.)