tangerine definition by American Heritage Dictionary
A widely cultivated variety of mandarin orange having deep red-orange fruit with easily separated segments.
A strong reddish orange to strong or vivid orange.
Origin: Short for tangerine orange, after Tanger (Tangier), Morocco.
Word History: The name tangerine comes from Tangier, Morocco, the port from which the first tangerines were shipped to Europe in 1841. The adjective tangerine, from Tangier or Tanger, was already an English word (first recorded in 1710), meaning “of or pertaining to Tangier.” This adjective had been formed with the suffix -ine, as in Florentine. The fruit was first called a tangerine orange, later reduced simply to tangerine. Confusion exists between the name tangerine and the name mandarin, and with good reason. The tangerine is a type of mandarin orange, so the oranges shipped from Tangier could also accurately have been called mandarins. However, although the two names can be used interchangeably in a general sense, there is now a particular type of orange called tangerine, which is different from another type now called mandarin. The mandarin orange, which is native to China, is thought probably to have received its name because of its resemblance in color to the robes of a mandarin.