yellow yellow




  1. a color like that of egg yolk, ripe lemons, etc.; the primary color between green and orange in the visible spectrum, an effect of light with a wavelength between 570 and 590 nm.
  2. the yolk of an egg.
  3. a yellow pigment or dye.
  4. Informal. yellow light.
  5. Slang. yellow jacket(def 2).

adjective, yel·low·er, yel·low·est.

  1. of the color yellow.
  2. Disparaging and Offensive.
    1. designating or pertaining to an Asian person or Asian peoples.
    2. designating or pertaining to a person of mixed racial origin, especially of black and white heritage.
  3. having a sallow or yellowish complexion.
  4. Informal. cowardly.
    1. (of a newspaper, book, etc.) featuring articles, pictures, or other content that is sensational, especially morbidly or offensively so: yellow rags; yellow biographies.
    2. dishonest in editorial comment and the presentation of news, especially in sacrificing truth for sensationalism, as in yellow journalism; yellow press.
  5. jealous; envious.

verb (used with or without object)

  1. to make or become yellow: Yellow the sheets with dye. The white stationery had yellowed with age.


  1. any of a group of colours that vary in saturation but have the same hue. They lie in the approximate wavelength range 585–575 nanometres. Yellow is the complementary colour of blue and with cyan and magenta forms a set of primary coloursRelated adjective: xanthous
  2. a pigment or dye of or producing these colours
  3. yellow cloth or clothingdressed in yellow
  4. the yolk of an egg
  5. a yellow ball in snooker, etc
  6. any of a group of pieridine butterflies the males of which have yellow or yellowish wings, esp the clouded yellows (Colias spp.) and the brimstone


  1. of the colour yellow
  2. yellowish in colour or having parts or marks that are yellowishyellow jasmine
  3. having a yellowish skin; Mongoloid
  4. informal cowardly or afraid
  5. offensively sensational, as a cheap newspaper (esp in the phrase yellow press)


  1. to make or become yellow

adj.Old English geolu, geolwe, from Proto-Germanic *gelwaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German gelo, Middle Dutch ghele, Dutch geel, Middle High German gel, German gelb, Old Norse gulr, Swedish gul “yellow”), from PIE *ghel- “yellow, green” (see Chloe). Meaning “light-skinned” (of blacks) first recorded 1808. Applied to Asiatics since 1787, though the first recorded reference is to Turkish words for inhabitants of India. Yellow peril translates German die gelbe gefahr. Sense of “cowardly” is 1856, of unknown origin; the color was traditionally associated rather with treachery. Yellow-bellied “cowardly” is from 1924, probably a rhyming reduplication of yellow; earlier yellow-belly was a sailor’s name for a half-caste (1867) and a Texas term for Mexican soldiers (1842, based on the color of their uniforms). Yellow dog “mongrel” is attested from c.1770; slang sense of “contemptible person” first recorded 1881. Yellow fever attested from 1748, American English (jaundice is a symptom). v.“to become yellow,” Old English geoluwian, from the source of yellow (adj.). Related: Yellowed; yellowing.

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