- Any of several southeast Asian evergreen trees of the genus Citrus, widely cultivated in warm regions and having fragrant white flowers and round fruit with a yellowish or reddish rind and a sectioned, pulpy interior, especially C. sinensis, the sweet orange, and C. aurantium, the Seville or sour orange.
- The fruit of any of these trees, having a sweetish, acidic juice.
- Any of several similar plants, such as the Osage orange and the mock orange.
- The hue of that portion of the visible spectrum lying between red and yellow, evoked in the human observer by radiant energy with wavelengths of approximately 590 to 630 nanometers; any of a group of colors between red and yellow in hue, of medium lightness and moderate saturation.
- Of the color orange.
- Made from oranges.
- Tasting or smelling like oranges.
[Middle English, from Old French pume orenge, translation and alteration (influenced by Orenge, Orange, a town in France) of Old Italian melarancio : mela, fruit + arancio, orange tree (alteration of Arabic nÄranj, from Persian nÄrang, from Sanskrit nÄra[ndot]gahÌ£, possibly of Dravidian origin).]orangy or'angÂ·y or or'angÂ·ey (-Än-jÄ“) adj.
WORD HISTORY Oranges imported to China from the United States reflect a journey come full circle, for the orange had worked its way westward for centuries, originating in China, then being introduced to India, and traveling on to the Middle East, into Europe, and finally to the New World. The history of the word orange keeps step with this journey only part of the way. The word is possibly ultimately from Dravidian, a family of languages spoken in southern India and northern Sri Lanka. The Dravidian word or words were adopted into the Indo-European language Sanskrit with the form nÄra[ndot]gahÌ£. As the fruit passed westward, so did the word, as evidenced by Persian nÄrang and Arabic nÄranj. Arabs brought the first oranges to Spain, and the fruit rapidly spread throughout Europe. The important word for the development of our term is Old Italian melarancio, derived from mela, â€œfruit,â€ and arancio, â€œorange tree,â€ from Arabic nÄranj. Old Italian melarancio was translated into Old French as pume orenge, the o replacing the a because of the influence of the name of the town of Orange, from which oranges reached the northern part of France. The final stage of the odyssey of the word was its borrowing into English from the Old French form orenge. Our word is first recorded in Middle English in a text probably composed around 1380, a time preceding the arrival of the orange in the New World.