"very dark red or crimson color," 1791 (marone), from French couleur marron, the color of a marron "chestnut," the large sweet chestnut of southern Europe (maroon in that sense was used in English from 1590s), from the dialect of Lyons, ultimately from a word in a pre-Roman language, perhaps Ligurian; or from Greek maraon "sweet chestnut."
"put ashore on a desolate island or coast" by way of punishment, 1724 (implied in marooning), earlier "to be lost in the wild" (1690s); from maroon, maron (n.) "fugitive black slave living in the wilder parts of Dutch Guyana or Jamaica and other West Indies islands" (1660s), earlier symeron (1620s), from French marron, simarron, said to be a corruption of Spanish cimmaron "wild, untamed, unruly, fugitive" (as in Cuban negro cimarron "a fugitive black slave"). This is from Old Spanish cimarra "thicket," which is probably from cima "summit, top" (from Latin cyma "sprout"), and the notion is of living wild in the mountains. Related: Marooned.
updated on November 26, 2018