Joanna here: I was thinking about orange the other day. Not so much the delightful fruit, but “orange” as a color. I talked about this before in an earlier posting. Here.
What I was specifically mulling over was how folks in England had been confronted with the color orange every day – flowers, sunsets, trees in the fall, ochre mud on their mukluks – from the day they hiked out of Doggerland and ended up in Britain. Somehow they didn’t have a special word for orange and apparently didn’t miss it,
In Sanskrit the orange fruit is a nāranja. Making its way through Arabic, Old Provencal, Old French and Middle English turned it into an orange and the color came from that in C14.
So what did they call that color before the Fourteenth Century? Apparently geoluhread. As in, "Wow. Love your geoluhread i-pod!" Geoluhread would roughly translate as yellow-red and I am sure we are all grateful to Sanskrit for its intervention into what would have been a dismal shade with a long name.
Did folks think of orange as a distinct color, or was it just part of red? Roses, rubies, blood – were red. Pumpkins – also red.
When does a hue split off and become a different color?