The etymology of “orange”: which came first, the color or the fruit?

This is not to say that no one recognized the color, only that there was no specific name for it. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Nun’s Priest’s Tale,’ the rooster Chaunticleer dreams of a threatening fox invading the barnyard, whose ‘color was betwixe yelow and reed.’ The fox was orange, but in the 1390s Chaucer didn’t have a word for it. He had to mix it verbally“.

In the books I had a sa young child in the 1970s, there were no colour named orange (which is also the Swedish word—although orange, the fruit, confusingly in Swedish is “apelsin”). Instead there was the word brandgul—fire-yellow!

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