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This question about colours got me thinking:

Why, and how, did オレンジ come to replace 橙【だいだい】 to refer to the colour orange?

It seems weird to me that a word taken from a foreign language became adopted as the norm when there seem to already have been a perfectly good local word for the same thing.

I've seen used very occasionally, but it seems to be reserved for deliberately attaching a Japanese style, or 和風【わふう】, context beyond just describing the colour.

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Do you mean a fruit, or a colour? I think 橙 mainly refers to a fruit... –  Zhen Lin Aug 5 '11 at 5:44
    
In fact you see a LOT of this occurring. For example, in the IT world some use ジョブ instead of 仕事 with no apparent reason. ディスカッション is also very frequently used instead of 議論 or 会議 or 話し合い. Very interesting topic. –  Enno Shioji Aug 5 '11 at 6:01
    
@sawa: Thanks. I got the impression that fruit was the main meaning from dictionaries though. For example, this says 「2 「橙色」の略。」 –  Zhen Lin Aug 5 '11 at 6:04
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@enno Job in IT world has a completely different meaning than shigoto which can be translated as "work" where "job" refers to a batch. –  Mark Hosang Aug 5 '11 at 8:33
    
@Mark: It's not widespread yet, but some started to use it to refer to projects in general. Here is a website that explains it: allabout.co.jp/gm/gc/295308 –  Enno Shioji Aug 5 '11 at 9:33
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Ah, I found something on this particular example...

支那の色名である「橙色(とうしょく)」が日本語になったと考えられている。[...]橙色は、英語のオレンジに対応する日本語の色名として用いられたが、橙色も元々は借入語であり、英語より橙色の方が借り入れたのが早かったに過ぎない。なお、「橙」の漢字が教育用漢字に採用されなかったために、赤と黄との中間色相は日本でもオレンジ色と呼ばれることが多くなった。

source: http://www.7key.jp/data/design/color/orange/daidaiiro.html
Not sure from what source this information is in turn, though.

Looks like Japan didn't have a name for the color orange (see here for what color they had). So the Japanese borrowed 橙色 from China, and オレンジ from English. The kanji 橙 was not one of the kanji that is taught in compulsory education, thus オレンジ became more common.

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