Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Orange You Glad It's Monday?

Which came first, the fruit or the color?

Explanation: This weekend, I tried to get a jump on the next ten years of questions she'll be asking by telling my daughter all about the orange juice I was drinking. I was explaining how neat it is that orange juice is both juice that is orange and juice that is made from oranges. Then, perhaps from her inquisitive gaze (my explanation was riveting, I tell you) I was led to wonder something that I've never wondered before. Was the fruit named after the color, or was the color named after the fruit?

I had always assumed it was the former. An orange is called an orange because it's orange. After all, I'm sure the color has been around longer than the fruit. Plus, we call a fly a fly because it flies. There are lots of examples in English like this. But on this day, for some reason or another, I was thinking that language is funny sometimes and it might be the other way around. I looked it up, and sure enough, the color (as we know it) was named after the fruit. This absolutely blew my mind. I then had to look up the etymology of "fly" just to make sure that the critter was named after the act of flying, which it was. Thus, my world was righted again, but now I have a neat fact to share with you all. You're welcome.

Special Blog Bonus: A lesser known fact is that both the fruit and the color were named for the indigenous people of an ancient Roman city, known for their large heads, their large hats, and their complete lack of torsos:


Willie Y said...

For the people who hear the true story about thinking that 300 was a true story every time I visit your blog I can't wait till it slowly slips onto another page.

Orange you glad I left this comment?

lisa said...

I TOTALLY HAD THIS CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE but we never came to any conclusion. So thank you for posting the answer. Also, Miami won, so now you can't say anything :)