late Old English orceard "fruit garden; piece of ground, usually enclosed, devoted to the culture of fruit-trees," also for meeting, recreation, etc., earlier ortgeard, perhaps reduced from wortgeard, from wort (Old English wyrt "vegetable, plant root") + geard "garden, yard" (also "vegetable garden" until 15c.); see yard (n.1). The first element would have been influenced in Middle English by Latin hortus (in Late Latin ortus) "garden," which also is from the PIE root (*gher- (1) "to grasp, enclose") that yielded yard (n.1). Orchard-house "glass house for the cultivation of fruits too delicate to be grown in open air" is by 1850.
updated on September 25, 2019