Was the orange named orange because of orange, or was orange named orange because of oranges? You want me to repeat the question?
Pete B., Washington, D.C.
Spare me. The noun preceded the adjective, deriving ultimately from the Sanskrit naranga, “orange tree.” It’s thought the initial n may have been dropped in French and Italian due to assimilation into the indefinite article — i.e., une narange became une arange, and una narancia became una arancia. The first English use of the word “orange” as a color adjective appears to have been in 1620.
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