a member of a society founded in Ireland (1795) to uphold the Protestant religion, the Protestant dynasty, and the Protestant constitution. Orange Lodges have since spread to many parts of the former British Empire
C18: after William, prince of Orange (king of England as William III)
secret society founded 1795 in Belfast to promote Protestant power in N.Ireland, named for William of Orange (who became King William III of England and triumphed in Ireland at the head of a Protestant army at the Battle of the Boyne), of the Ger. House of Nassau. His cousins and their descendants constitute the royal line of Holland. The name is from the town of Orange on the Rhone in France, which became part of the Nassau principality in 1530, the town so called because it was said to have been a center for importing oranges to northern France and beyond (its Roman name was Arausio). In this roundabout way the political/religious movement of N.Ir. Protestantism acquired an association with the color orange.