c. 1300, "made of gold," from gold (n.) + -en (2); replacing Middle English gilden, from Old English gyldan. Gold is one of the few Modern English nouns that form adjectives meaning "made of ______" by adding -en (as in wooden, leaden, waxen, olden); those that survive often do so in specialized senses. Old English also had silfren "made of silver," stænen "made of stone," etc.
From late 14c. as "of the color of gold." Figurative sense of "excellent, precious, best, most valuable" is from late 14c.; that of "favorable, auspicious" is from c. 1600. Golden mean "avoidance of excess" translates Latin aurea mediocritas (Horace). Golden age "period of past perfection" is from 1550s, from a concept found in Greek and Latin writers; in sense of "old age" it is recorded from 1961. San Francisco Bay's entrance channel was called the Golden Gate by John C. Fremont (1866). The moralistic golden rule earlier was the golden law (1670s).
Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them [Matthew vii.12]
Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same. [George Bernard Shaw, 1898]
"deep orange-yellowish," 1650s, from Latin luteus "golden-yellow, orange-yellow," from lutum, the name of a weed used in dyeing yellow, a word of unknown origin.
also cumquat, 1690s, from Chinese (Cantonese) kamkwat, from kam "golden" + kwat "orange." Said in OED to be a Cantonese dialectal form of Chinese kin-ku.
masc. proper name, from Latin Flavius, a Roman gens name, related to flavus "golden-yellow, blond" (see blue (adj.1)), and probably originally meaning "yellow-haired."
1776, "the golden oriole," a bird of Europe, so called from its rich yellow color, from French oriol, Old Provençal auriol, from Medieval Latin oryolus, oriolus (13c.), from Latin aureolus "golden," from PIE *aus- (2) "gold" (see aureate).
Originally in reference to Oriolus galbula, a bird of black and yellow plumage that summers in Europe (but is uncommon in England). The name was applied by 1791 to the unrelated but similarly colored North American species Icterus baltimore.
in Greek mythology, the name of a region in the far southeast corner of the Black Sea (in what is now Georgia), the homeland of Medea and associated with Jason and the quest for the Golden Fleece. Related: Colchian.