Orange – What came first the fruit or the color?

The words that we give our foods sometimes tell us something about their history and this is certainly the case with this delicious citrus fruit. I recently learned that the word for the fruit in Bulgarian is портока́л (portokal). I never thought about it before, but it sounds reasonable – Portugal certainly has a conducive orange-growing climate. Today I learned that the same term is used in Turkish, portakal. This prompted me to do a little more investigation.
The word orange derives from the Sanskrit word for “orange tree” (नारङ्ग nāraṅga). It was originally introduced to Europe (primarily Spain and Portugal) by the Arabs and Persians with this name. The word in many languages thus derive from this root.
Later on Portuguese merchants popularized this fruit in the Mediterranean and many of these countries bear this history.
Some countries recognize the Eastern origin of the fruit by calling it an apfelsine (Chinese/Sino apple), while others derive from the original French name, pomme d’orenge (orange apple).
There are two other main groups, one that calls it a lemon (I’m not sure, in that case, what they call the yellow lemon) and one names it according to its sourness.
So, it turns out in old English the word for this color was actually geoluread (yellow-red). The fruit introduced a new taste sensation and color name.

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