use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

guide to the dictionary

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY BLOG

The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

Or·ange (ôrĭnj, ŏr-)
Share:
Princely family of Europe ruling continuously in the Netherlands since 1815. The name was first used for a former principality of southeast France that passed to the house of Nassau in 1530.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
or·ange (ôrĭnj, ŏr-)
Share:
n.
1.
a. Any of several evergreen trees of the genus Citrus of Southeast Asia, widely cultivated in warm regions and having fragrant white flowers and round fruit with a yellowish or reddish rind and a sectioned, pulpy interior, especially the sweet orange and the bitter orange.
b. The fruit of any of these trees, having a sweetish, acidic juice.
2. Any of several similar plants, such as the Osage orange and the mock orange.
3. The hue of that portion of the visible spectrum lying between red and yellow, evoked in the human observer by radiant energy with wavelengths of approximately 590 to 630 nanometers; any of a group of colors between red and yellow in hue, of medium lightness and moderate saturation.
adj.
1. Of the color orange.
2. Made from oranges.
3. Tasting or smelling like oranges.

[Middle English, from Old French pume orenge, translation and alteration (influenced by Orenge, Orange, a town in France) of Old Italian melarancio : mela, apple + arancio, orange tree (alteration of Arabic nāranj, from Persian nārang, from Sanskrit nāraga, possibly of Dravidian origin).]

orang·y, orang·ey (-ĭn-jē) adj.

Word History: If we trace the origin of the English word orange from its source, we follow the path of the fruit as its popularity expands from Asia to Europe. The ultimate origins of the word lie in the Dravidian language family, a family of languages spoken in South Asia that includes Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu. The modern Tamil word for an orange, for example, is nāram, and in ancient times, a Dravidian word similar to this was adopted into the Indo-European language Sanskrit as nāraga. As the fruit passed westward from India, so did the word for it, becoming Persian nārang and Arabic nāranj. The Arabs brought the first oranges to Spain and Sicily between the 8th and 10th centuries, and from there the popularity of the fruit spread throughout Europe. The Arabic word is the source of Old Italian arancio, "orange tree," and this word was compounded with Old Italian mela, "apple," to make melarancio, referring to the fruit of the orange tree. Old Italian melarancio was translated into Old French as pume d'orenge, "apple of the orange tree." The a in the Old Italian word was replaced by o in Old French due to the influence of the name of the town of Orange (from which oranges reached the northern part of France) and possibly also due to the influence of the Old French word or, "gold" (by association with the rich color of the fruit). In the final stage in the journey of the word, the Old French form was borrowed into Middle English, at first spelled orenge in a text dating from around 1400. The English word orange begins to be used to designate the color orange in the 16th century.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.