which came first?

“You must have been a very weird child”, my wife used to say when I started worrying about things like this, but really, which came first, orange the fruit, or orange the color?

The fruit probably came from China, like lots of other useful plants, and the Oxford English Dictionary tells us that, as with almost all useful thought, the word ultimately comes from the Sanskrit naranga, meaning orange.

So, like, what, in ancient China and ancient India they didn’t have a word for orange the color until someone saw orange the fruit and said, “Hey, this reminds me of something” …?

What started this major philosophical conundrum is, of course, the presence of more orange flowers in the garden. Glaucium corniculatum, I guess.


And, maybe, Echinocereus coccineus, but orange. Like the color.




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2 Responses to which came first?

  1. Have wondered that exact same thing.

    • paridevita says:

      Well, you have to figure that in India sunsets were orange, sometimes, and those had to come first. Before someone stumbled upon an orange, somewhere. I guess.

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