Apparently we didn’t have a name for the colour orange in English until we discovered oranges around 1512. I wonder whether that is right.
This reminds me of my time at school where my Latin master told us all that oranges used to be called noranges but we English found that saying ‘a norange’ was too tricky and started saying ‘an orange’ instead. This all makes sense considering that the Spanish for oranges (which I certainly didn’t know back in 1971) is naranja.
And I think we must have got onto this through talking about the fact that umpires are really numpires, who are people who are numpus (or something similar) ie are on neither side. The truth seems a little different from that according to what I can find on t’internet.
And we do know that those snakes used to be nadders but are now adders.
So, coming back to the colour orange, that means that seven English kings called Henry ruled without saying orange and it was only the eighth who got to say orange.
And again I am told, although my source thinks he heard it on QI perhaps, that this is why we call the Robin a redbreast (even though its breast is really quite orange) and that lovely kite a Red Kite (even though its tail is pretty orange) and a pretty woodland bird a Redstart (even though it has quite an orange tail).
Is that right?