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I do not know how else to put the question. On my third attempt, what is the origin of the word "pink" in the English language?

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    Try this. – Brian Donovan Jul 17 '15 at 20:51
  • The latin 'rosea' does not solve the derivation of the word "pink" therefore, it is of interest to know the origin and whether it is contained in another language – Angela Norris Jul 17 '15 at 20:52
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    Did you look at Brian's link??? – Hot Licks Jul 17 '15 at 20:53
  • Your answer is here: - etymonline.com/… – chasly from UK Jul 17 '15 at 20:59
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    Ahh... did the site prevent you from posting the question because you didn't meet the minimum character limit? One very easy way to overcome this obstacle is to copy and paste a definition from a dictionary or a Wikipedia article. This also shows the community you have at least attempted some minimal research. Another option is to explain "why" you are interested in knowing the word's origin. Is it only curiosity, is there a wager between you and another person, are you doing some research and you have come to a standstill? In the end, it's not really that hard to meet the character limit. – Mari-Lou A Jul 18 '15 at 7:39
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I have read (can't remember where) that the colour pink comes from the name of the flower. And the flower was so named because its edges are pinked; i.e shaped as they would be if cut with pinking shears; To pink meaning to give a decorative frilly edge.

Edit: a reference -

The color pink is named after the flowers called pinks... The name derives from the frilled edge of the flowers—the verb "to pink" dates from the 14th century and means "to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern" (possibly from German pinken, "to peck").[6] While the word "pink" was first used as a noun to refer to a color in the 17th century, the verb "pink" continues to be reflected today in the name of those hand-held scissors that cut a zig-zagged line referred to as pinking shears. -Wikipedia

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It looks as if the only certain etymology is for hunting Pink, the scarlet coats worn when riding to hounds. They are named after the inventor, like Burberrys and Macintoshes. The Tailors who designed the coat still have a shop in London.

The subject is complicated. Even the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary has a column of Pinks, with ten separate headings. Shorter OED :: 'Pink' is my source.

1471 Pink refers to a fishing boat.
1490 to a minnow and by 1500 to salmon smaller than smolts. Are they pink?
1512 it means an eyelet, and a century later a stab wound. That might be pink.
1573 it begins to be used to describe a number of flowers (esp. Dianthus)

1634 is the earliest recorded use of pink to mean a pigment. The pinks are all lakes, that is they are all made by staining precipitated chalk or ground cuttle-fish bone. The actual Paint is made from pigment mixed with a medium (oil, gum, wax, egg)

1634 [origin obscure] A yellowish or greenish-yellow pigment or 'lake' obtained by the combination of a vegetable colouring matter with a white base etcetera...

At some time other pinks were created. By 1819 it was possible to buy four pink pigments. I do not know if this includes the "yellowish or greenish-yellow." This is all from Rees Cyclopedia.

Brown Pink ...of a yellow or orange colour ...take French berries, one pound; of fustic wood in chips, half a pound; and of pearl ashes, one pound, Boil an hour .... add a solution of alum.

Dutch Pink one pound of French berries, and four ounces of turmeric root... English Pink is a pale form of Dutch Pink.

Rose Pink is a lake, ...principally chalk, the tinging (sic) substance is extracted from Brasil or Campeachy Wood (1lb of each to 2 gallons of water). "The goodness of rose pink consists chiefly in the brightness of the colour and the fineness of the substance."

  • So far as I can tell, until mid 1700s pink was called 'Rose.' Shakespeare's Pink means 'Tip-top,' --the pink of health. – Hugh Jul 18 '15 at 5:23
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Etymology of word pink, from Google:

mid 17th century: the early use of the adjective being to describe the color of the flowers of this plant.

Origin: mid 17th cent.: adjective describing the color of the flowers of pink |pɪŋk| (flower name) -- a herbaceous Eurasian plant with sweet-smelling pink or white flowers and slender, typically gray-green, leaves. • Genus Dianthus, family Caryophyllaceae (the pink family). This family includes the campions, chickweeds, stitchworts, and the cultivated carnations...

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    pink |pɪŋk| (color name) Origin: mid 17th cent.: adjective describing the color of the flowers of pink |pɪŋk| (flower name) -- a herbaceous Eurasian plant with sweet-smelling pink or white flowers and slender, typically gray-green, leaves. • Genus Dianthus, family Caryophyllaceae (the pink family). This family includes the campions, chickweeds, stitchworts, and the cultivated carnations. – John Lawler Jul 17 '15 at 21:46
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Alas, "etymology obscure" according to the OED. Sometimes the answers to simple questions about word origin have been lost.

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Etymonline has an entry on pink. It says that "pink" was the common name of a garden plant. The origin of the word pink itself is unknown. The rest of the text consists of assumptions.

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