July 15th, 2009 by Potato

As I sit here, trying to clean the watermelon juice off my keyboard while it’s dripping down my arms to the elbows, I realize that watermelon is a very descriptive name for a fruit.

It’s a very wet melon. I don’t think I could have come up with a better name for that particular fruit.

It makes me think of oranges, which sound like they have a descriptive name, but it’s actually not. After all, if you’re thinking of a fruit you want to eat, the colour it happens to be is probably not high on your list of criteria, so it’s not a very useful attribute to describe the fruit or name it after. And of course there’s the added confusion that not all oranges are orange (with the sudden popularity of blood oranges driving that home).

2 Responses to “Watermelon”

  1. Rez Says:

    My understanding is that the word for the colour orange in English was derived from the name of the orange fruit, not the other way round. Oranges are my favourite food in the world. In Farsi, the word for the fruit is portogal, which is derived from the country Portugal, which introduced the fruit to ancient Iranians I guess.

    Watermelons rock, too.

  2. Potato Says:

    Cool! From Wikipedia:

    Before the English-speaking world was exposed to the fruit, the colour was referred to as “geoluhread” in Old English, which translates roughly into Modern English as yellow-red.

    Sort of like how before the fashion world brought us “fuchsia” we had to call it “reddish-purple”.