Cool facts about the word "orange"

  1. The word "orange" described a fruit before it described a color.

The English word "orange" was first used to describe citrus in the 1300s, and wasn't used for the color for another 200 years. Mental Floss says that "linguists believe people generally referred to orange as "yellow-red," ġeolurēad in Old English." Orange ya glad we don't have to do that anymore?

According to linguist Gretchen McCulloch, early English speakers couldn't use "orange-head" as a hair color, which explains why we still use "red-head."

What about "redhead"? It started being said in the mid-1200s, about a hundred years before English speakers were even talking about oranges, let alone the colour. 

Gretchen McCulloch

2. It's tough (but not impossible!) to rhyme

Eminem, in a 60 minutes interview, showed Anderson Cooper how to rhyme the word "orange" by making it two syllables: "I put my orange four-inch door-hinge in storage and ate porridge with George." There's a Wikipedia section on other poetic uses of "orange," which you can find here.

There's an eye-rhyme for orange: it's "sporange," a botanical for a portion of a fern. Its pronunciation is slightly different, though, so it doesn't really work. If you count proper nouns, then there's also The Blorenge, a mountain in Southeast Wales.

3. People disagree about how many syllables it has.

Most official sources seem to say that it's two syllables, but some orange pronunciations seem to have one (like this Andy Griffeth "arnj"). If you're in the Netherlands, it has three. Go oranje!