What does the color orange mean?

Orange is a symbol of alert, danger or exaltation. We show you its meaning and characteristics in the following article.

Last update: December 10, 2021

The color orange, sometimes referred to as orange or Orange, It is a fairly common color in our day to day. We find it in fruits such as oranges, in autumn pigmentation, in insects such as butterflies, in carrots, and in sunsets. Today we teach you the meaning of the color orange, its curiosities and historical importance.

In both English and Spanish the term arose to refer to the color of oranges. In both cases it derives from Sanskrit nāranga (tree that gives oranges). In English it has been used since the 16th century, while in Spanish there are reports of its use before. Its history has always been associated with this citrus fruit, something that lasts until the present. Let’s see the meaning of the color orange.

Characteristics of the color orange

Orange falls within the group of warm colors. Although it is not used too often, it is usually perceived in a positive way.

From the point of view of color theory, orange is the oscillation of the wave frequency ranging from 595 to 630 nanometers. This is the range of shades that is between red and yellow. Therefore, the lighter tones are perceived as yellowish, while the darker ones take on a reddish dimension. The standard orange is 615 nanometers long.



According to Newton’s division of the spectrum of light, orange corresponds to the second color. Therefore, it is also the second color that we can see in a rainbow after red. Together with the latter and yellow it is considered a warm color. Let’s see some curiosities about the color orange:

  • It is used in the aposematism. That is, the phenomenon of nature intended to warn potential predators about toxicity or threat.
  • It is also a distinctive color in the sexual diformism of some species. We find it in iguanas and fish (males have orange tones, females do not).
  • Sunrise and sunset can turn orange due to a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering.
  • Carrots, squash, and so on are oranges because they have high concentrations of carotenes. If you eat a lot of them, your skin takes on an orange hue (slight, of course).
  • Many oranges are stained this color since they are originally green. We can say that many oranges are not actually oranges, or at least on the outside.
  • A phenomenon related to the above happens in the fall. When temperatures drop, chlorophyll production stops. This turns the leaves from green to yellow, orange, red, ocher, and so on.
  • Buddhists wear orange clothing (saffron tone, to be more precise) because it relates color to lighting.
  • It is not used frequently in vexillology, but we can find it on flags such as Ireland, Ivory Coast, Niger and others.
  • Its use in politics is very varied: it has been used by liberals, Christian Democrats and certain movements associated with the left.
  • It is a color used as a warning or safety sign. We find it in helmets, vests, suits and more. Cyclists’ uniforms are colorful for this reason.
  • The Dutch team uses the color orange in their sports uniform because they are the country’s historical colors (since Guillermo de Orange).
  • It was one of the colors most used by Van Gogh in his paintings.
  • Turmeric was one of the first substances used in history to emulate the orange dye.

The above data brings us closer to the meaning of the color orange. Its interpretation acquires a greater importance when we analyze color from the postulates of psychology.

Meaning of the color orange in psychology

A person who dresses in orange (as long as it is in his right measure) is usually perceived as vigorous and reliable.

Studies indicate that the variation in the color of orange juice has an aesthetic effect on the taste of some people. Surprisingly, the influence is greater in older people, in contrast to younger ones. Some researchers believe that color and odor associations depend on cultural variables, such that the orange tone could condition the taste towards some drinks and foods.



The color orange can have a negative effect on emotions, at least those related to peace, tranquility and concentration. This is indicated by the evidence, since together with yellow and red (warm colors) they are the least valued by university students. They prefer blue, green or purple. Let’s see other complementary examples:

  • According to the researchers, the different shades of orange are classified by people as cheerful, warm and vibrant.
  • Darker shades of color can convey a feeling of euphoria, energy, and restlessness.
  • Continuous exposure to the darkest shades of color can make people feel stressed.
  • It is a color that attracts attention immediately, although only for a few seconds. Then you can make it difficult.
  • Evidence indicates that younger children are more comfortable wearing warm-colored nurses’ uniforms than neutral colors such as white.

In a general way it is said that the color orange does not have a middle point: Or you love it, or hate it. Apart from this, its influence does not go unnoticed in people. It is more related to excitement and restlessness than to calm and relaxed states.

Meaning of the color orange in different cultures

We say goodbye to this post about the meaning of the color orange, collecting some of its cultural peculiarities. With this we complete what we have already exposed about it:

  • Orange is a color found regularly in Ancient Egyptian tombs.
  • For the followers of Confucius, it is about the color of transformation.
  • Medieval artists frequently used it to decorate their manuscripts.
  • The term began to be used to refer to color only until the Portuguese brought the fruit from Asia.
  • It was an essential color in all impressionist painters.
  • In its variety of shades, it is a central color for Hindus and Buddhists.
  • Orange is used to represent the second chakra.
  • In the United States, it represents the second highest level of alert regarding a terrorist attack.

With these curiosities we close our journey on the meaning of the color orange. Without a doubt one of the most striking and dazzling colors that we can find in nature and on a daily basis.

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