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why are oranges called oranges, but an apple is not called a red?

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Reply by Gluma


Fun fact: the color was named after the fruit! It was originally known as “yellow-red.”

I’m no historian nor linguistic so anyone can and should correct me but it seems like there’s a pattern of naming colors after existing things with that color, as the origin of the word “red” comes from “*h₁rowdʰós” (proto-Indo-European) and “rudhirá” (Sanskrit), where both words mean both “blood” and “red” (so I’m assuming that people would refer to the anything red as “wow that thing looks like the color of blood”)

However, “apple” was originally known as “æppel,” which was also a more general term as it described any fruit that grew on a tree (along with balls and spheres). If you wanted to name a specific fruit, you’d say something along the lines of “apple of paradise” (banana). “Pineapple” could be seen as a more modern example of this.

So, why weren’t apples called by their color? Well, apparently back then, apples weren’t even red. Or, for some, were not even a single color. Google says that they came in different shades of green, yellow, and red. I assume, because of that, people would’ve preferred to call an apple by its shape or by the fact that it grows on a tree instead of the multitude of colors it had. Blood, for the most part, is seen as red and the “blood = red” mindset makes a lot more sense on a universal scale.

Of course, all this language origin talk only focuses on English. There’s still some patterns in other languages (such as French using “pomme de terre” (“apple of the earth/ground”) for “potato”) but I’m merely a simple American who only knows English best ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ very interesting question, nonetheless!

also I should note that I literally just used Google and scavenged through articles and forums for the past 20 mins to come up with these answers; I literally have no idea if what I just said has any strong proof to them LMAO

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