Orange: was Etymology of 'tanU'

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann reimann at
Sat Jul 12 01:52:58 UTC 1997

At 03:41 PM 7/11/97 BST, S. Krishna wrote:

>3. In Telugu and Spanish, the word"nAranja" translates as orange. 
>Specifically, in Telugu it does not refer to the orange colored 
>"orange", but a similar fruit( with same shape and taste) but which 
>looks greenish-yellow.

>;likewise the word for orange crept into Spanish from 
>Telugu. On closer examination this seems to be far fetched, it must be 
>Likewise, given the fact 
>that Spain itself is a Mediterrenean country, I find it difficult to 
>believe that oranges didn't grow there originally and they had to export 
>such fruits from India( All Mediterrenean countries are growers of 
>citrus fruits).

This seems to be the accepted etymology of naranja:

Spanish naranja < Arabic naaranj < Persian naarang < Sanskrit naaranga

English orange came through a similar route < Old French orange < Arabic
naaranj, etc.

The question is, where does Skt. naaranga come from?  MW compares it to
naaga-ranga; and Gomez de Silva (in his Spanish etymological dictionary)
suggests it could possibly come from the Tamil word naru, fragrant.  Any

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann
University of California, Berkeley

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list