Did you know that orange, meaning the color, wasn’t used until the 1500, while orange, for the fruit, dates to the 1300s? And that’s just in English!
The fruit is truly ancient, and our word traces its roots ultimately back to the Sanskrit naranga, by way Persian, Arabic, Italian, Medieval Latin, and French. Quite a journey! The word didn’t change much in its pronunciation as it traveled the globe, except that the initial n got confused with its articles at some point and it became an orange instead of a norange (much like several other words!).
The fascinating bit is that the color had no definite name in English for so long! It was just called “reddish-yellow” or occasionally “saffron” or “citrine.” Eventually people started referring to the shade as “the color of a ripe orange.”
It’s believed that the tree originated in India, imported to Europe, and from there, Columbus brought it with him to the new world, planting its seeds in the Caribbean on his second trip. Ponce de Leon is responsible for bringing them to Florida in 1513, and Hawaii saw its first oranges in 1792.