If you have a reddish-brown horse, you can call it a sorrel. If your favorite riding boots are the same color as your horse, you can describe them as sorrel too.

The word sorrel is a homograph with two distinct meanings. It can mean either a reddish brown color (or a horse with that coloring) or any of various plants with sour juice. Both words came via French, and are ultimately from different Germanic roots. The color sorrel comes from sor, "yellowish-brown" in Middle French, while the horse of the same name might more commonly be described as "chestnut."

Definitions of sorrel
  1. noun
    East Indian sparsely prickly annual herb or perennial subshrub widely cultivated for its fleshy calyxes used in tarts and jelly and for its bast fiber
    synonyms: Hibiscus sabdariffa, Jamaica sorrel, red sorrel, roselle, rozelle
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    type of:
    any plant of the genus Hibiscus
  2. noun
    large sour-tasting arrowhead-shaped leaves used in salads and sauces
    synonyms: common sorrel
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    type of:
    green, greens, leafy vegetable
    any of various leafy plants or their leaves and stems eaten as vegetables
  3. noun
    any of certain coarse weedy plants with long taproots, sometimes used as table greens or in folk medicine
    synonyms: dock, sour grass
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    Rumex acetosa, garden sorrel, sour dock
    European sorrel with large slightly acidic sagittate leaves grown throughout north temperate zone for salad and spring greens
    Rumex acetosella, sheep sorrel, sheep's sorrel
    small plant having pleasantly acid-tasting arrow-shaped leaves; common in dry places
    Rumex obtusifolius, bitter dock, broad-leaved dock, yellow dock
    European dock with broad obtuse leaves and bitter rootstock common as a weed in North America
    French sorrel, Rumex scutatus, garden sorrel
    low perennial with small silvery-green ovate to hastate leaves
    type of:
    herb, herbaceous plant
    a plant lacking a permanent woody stem; many are flowering garden plants or potherbs; some having medicinal properties; some are pests
  4. noun
    any plant or flower of the genus Oxalis
    synonyms: oxalis, wood sorrel
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    Oxalis acetosella, common wood sorrel, cuckoo bread, shamrock
    Eurasian plant with heart-shaped trifoliate leaves and white purple-veined flowers
    Bermuda buttercup, English-weed, Oxalis cernua, Oxalis pes-caprae
    South African bulbous wood sorrel with showy yellow flowers
    Oxalis corniculata, creeping oxalis, creeping wood sorrel
    creeping much-branched mat-forming weed; cosmopolitan
    Oxalis caprina, goat's foot, goatsfoot
    short-stemmed South African plant with bluish flowers
    Oxalis violacea, violet wood sorrel
    perennial herb of eastern North America with palmately compound leaves and usually rose-purple flowers
    Oxalis crenata, Oxalis tuberosa, oca, oka
    South American wood sorrel cultivated for its edible tubers
    type of:
    herb, herbaceous plant
    a plant lacking a permanent woody stem; many are flowering garden plants or potherbs; some having medicinal properties; some are pests
  5. noun
    a horse of a brownish orange to light brown color
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    type of:
    Equus caballus, horse
    solid-hoofed herbivorous quadruped domesticated since prehistoric times
  6. adjective
    of a light brownish color
    synonyms: brownish-orange
    being or having or characterized by hue
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