Did you know that the color orange was named for the fruit, and not the other way around? That historical quirk can make it difficult to find other words for orange. Languages other than English also use the same word to describe both the fruit and the color, and many orange pigments, such as gamboge, vary in intensity from yellow to brown.
So, unfortunately, most of the other words for orange on the list below are not pigments, nor are they even adjectives at all. In fact, quite a few of them are other plants, fruits, or edibles of some kind. Check out my favorite alternative words for orange below, and share your favorites in the comments.
n. a climbing vine that produces red and orange berries; also, another name for woody nightshade
Be careful with this one. As I’m sure you’re aware, “bittersweet” today has very little to do with plants, and everything to do with memories and experiences that bring a mixed-bag of emotions.
2. Burnt Sienna
n. a pigment, or the reddish-brown color it produces
Technically the heated version of raw sienna, but you probably remember both colors from your old box of Crayola crayons. Look up burnt sienna and you’ll see it reminds you a lot of the Match Game ’76 set.
adj. having qualities that resemble a carrot
It always bothered me that Rachel Lynde called Anne Shirley’s hair “red as carrots.” I know there are red carrots, yellow carrots, even purple carrots, but it just doesn’t feel right. Anywho, feel free to use “carroty” to describe anything that looks like a carrot, orange or not.
n. a metal, or the color of that metal
The headquarters library of our county system used to sell little lumps of natural copper in its gift shop, and I’ve always thought it was a gorgeous color. Copper can range from dark brown to tan, but it’s known for its reddish-gold hue.
n. a preservative made from citrus
You can make marmalade from any edible citrus fruit, but orange marmalade is the best known variety, and has been firmly cemented in many young book nerds’ minds by its presence in Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear series.
n. a large, edible gourd
Out of all the words on this list, pumpkin is one of the easiest to use in place of “orange,” second only to “tangerine” below. Although the humble pumpkin comes in varieties that range in color from white to black, no one is going to go “white as a pumpkin.”
n. a flaky coating caused by the oxidization of metal, or a plant disease bearing the same color
Like copper, rust runs the color gamut from very dark to very light. This word may be misconstrued as meaning brown or red, so establish that a thing is orange before using “rust” to describe it.
n. a small citrus fruit
Much like “orange,” this word has only two meanings: color and fruit. Oh, and it’s also a pretty fantastic indie film about a trans sex worker. “Tangerine” is unmistakably orange, so it’s the perfect go-to if you don’t want to be misunderstood.
What are your favorite words for orange? Can you think of any I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!
Image credit: timlewisnm