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.

  • Do you mean a fruit, or a colour? I think 橙 mainly refers to a fruit...
    – Zhen Lin
    Aug 5, 2011 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. Aug 5, 2011 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, 2011 at 6:04
  • 1
    @enno Job in IT world has a completely different meaning than shigoto which can be translated as "work" where "job" refers to a batch. Aug 5, 2011 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 Aug 5, 2011 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


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


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.

  • Your second reference link is broken.
    – jarmanso7
    May 2, 2022 at 10:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .