SKIP TO CONTENT

yellow

Yellow is the color you'll see in a rainbow, right between orange and green. Yellow is the color of daffodils, lemons, and the traffic light that is supposed to make cars slow down.

The word yellow comes from a Proto-Indo-European root word that means "to shine." Sunflowers, egg yolks, and corn on the cob all share this bright color, and if you're asked to draw a picture of the sun, you're likely to grab a yellow crayon. The informal meaning of yellow, "cowardly," has been around since the 1850s, and may have originated in a Texas slur for Mexican soldiers, whose uniforms were yellow.

Definitions of yellow
  1. noun
    yellow color or pigment; the chromatic color resembling the hue of sunflowers or ripe lemons
    synonyms: yellowness
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 9 types...
    hide 9 types...
    canary, canary yellow
    a moderate yellow with a greenish tinge
    amber, gold
    a deep yellow color
    brownish yellow
    a yellow color of low lightness with a brownish tinge
    gamboge, lemon, lemon yellow, maize
    a strong yellow color
    old gold
    a dark yellow
    orange yellow, saffron
    a shade of yellow tinged with orange
    pale yellow, straw, wheat
    a variable yellow tint; dull yellow, often diluted with white
    greenish yellow
    a shade of yellow tinged with green
    ocher, ochre
    a moderate yellow-orange to orange color
    type of:
    chromatic color, chromatic colour, spectral color, spectral colour
    a color that has hue
  2. adjective
    of the color intermediate between green and orange in the color spectrum; of something resembling the color of an egg yolk
    synonyms: xanthous, yellowish
    chromatic
    being or having or characterized by hue
  3. adjective
    affected by jaundice which causes yellowing of skin etc
    synonyms: icteric, jaundiced
    unhealthy
    not in or exhibiting good health in body or mind
  4. adjective
    changed to a yellowish color by age
    yellowed parchment”
    synonyms: yellowed
    old
    of long duration; not new
  5. verb
    turn yellow
    “The pages of the book began to yellow
    see moresee less
    type of:
    color, colour, discolor, discolour
    change color, often in an undesired manner
  6. adjective
    easily frightened
    synonyms: chicken, chickenhearted, lily-livered, white-livered, yellow-bellied
    cowardly, fearful
    lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted
  7. adjective
    cowardly or treacherous
    “"the little yellow stain of treason"-M.W.Straight”
    “too yellow to stand and fight”
    Synonyms:
    dishonorable, dishonourable
    lacking honor or integrity; deserving dishonor
  8. adjective
    typical of tabloids
    yellow press”
    synonyms: scandalmongering, sensationalistic
    sensational
    causing intense interest, curiosity, or emotion
Word Family
EDITOR'S CHOICE

Look up yellow for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer - Vocabulary.com's Vocabulary Trainer