Did You Know?
When tangerine was first used in the early 18th century it was an adjective we'd borrowed from French to describe people or things from or relating to the Moroccan city of Tangier. (The French name for "Tangier" is Tanger.) Within about a hundred years the noun tangerine was being used to refer to the fruit we now know by that name. Although tangerines were at one time thought to be native to Morocco, they are now thought to be indigenous to southeast Asia. As our definition explains, tangerines are technically a kind of mandarin orange-and mandarin is another word we got from the French. The French mandarine is most likely originally from the Portuguese word mandarim, which etymologists believe is probably from the color of a Chinese mandarin's robes.
Origin and Etymology of tangerine
Tangerine (orange), from French Tanger Tangier, Morocco + English 1-ine
First Known Use: 1842
TANGERINE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tangerine for English Language Learners
: a small, sweet fruit that is like an orange with a loose skin which is easy to remove
: a deep orange-yellow color
TANGERINE Defined for Kids
Definition of tangerine for Students
: a Chinese orange with a loose skin and sweet pulp
Seen and Heard
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