I understand tropical fruits were rare in medieval Europe. So how did the colour orange become synonymous with the fruit rather than the more common carrot?

I don’t know specifically about new-world Spanish names. But could it be that in European languages, the delineation between the words being derived from ‘naranj’ or ‘China apple’ may depend on where the fruits were historically imported from? Via Persia? It’s probably a ‘naranj’. Via ocean shipping routes out of China? It’s a China apple. Also, bitter oranges existed in many places in Europe before sweet oranges, so the ‘new’ sweet oranges from China were China apples and the bitter oranges were just oranges. Unless the word is synonymus with the country who is shipping them from China (as in the Greek, portokali).

Also, a very old distinction between fruits was apples, which are fruits that fall from trees, and berries, which are fruits plucked when ripe.

/r/AskHistorians Thread Parent