Which came first?
Rather like the age-old ‘chicken or egg?’ conundrum, the question has often been asked: which came first, the colour called orange or the fruit by the same name?
Actually, this is easy: the colour was named after the fruit. Oranges came first — by around 300 years!
In an Anglo manuscript of the 13th century, the old French words pomme dÕorenge, referring to the fruit, are found. The use of the word to describe the colour is not noted until the 16th century. ■ The typical yellow of lemons and orange colour of oranges appears when the nights become cooler. In fact, the pigment used in each is a kind of ‘antifreeze’ that protects the fruits from suffering frost damage.
However, frost is not always needed for the colouration to start – this will happen anyway if the temperatures are around 5°C (41°F).
or Which came first – the fruit or the colour?