If you grew up as a natural redhead, you have probably been told your red hair actually looks orange and not red. As a result, redheads are nicknamed “carrot tops”.
If you look at a color wheel, orange is actually closer to some shades of red hair.
So, why wasn’t it “orangehead” from the start — instead of redhead?
It all has to do with timing. The word “red” in English dates back to 5500 to 4500 BC. There weren’t many colors offered in the English language. After black and white, “red” was the next earliest color term created. “Orange”, on the other hand, only appears in English after the arrival of the fruits in England, around 1300 AD.
It’s said that the term “redhead” started in the mid-1200s, about a hundred years before English speakers were even talking about oranges, let alone the color.
Orangehead wasn’t coined because English didn’t differentiate between “red” and “orange” at that point in time.
“Redhead” stuck and has been present ever since.
If you’re wondering why redheads weren’t instead called “Pumpkin heads” or “Carrot Heads”, that is because pumpkin doesn’t show up in the English language until the 1640’s.
However, there’s another old food term that managed to do quite well for itself as another name for redhead: ginger.
We’re not sure why because ginger is gold-yellow! Why aren’t we using this to mean “blonde”?
If you are like us, we’re happy “redhead” stuck and is here to stay.
Rock it like a Redhead!