Definition: Yellow

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English yelwe, yelou, from Old English ġeolwe, oblique form of Old English ġeolu, from Proto-West Germanic *gelu, from Proto-Germanic *gelwaz, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰelh₃wos, from *ǵʰelh₃- (gleam, yellow).

Compare Welsh gwelw (pale), Latin helvus (dull yellow), Irish geal (white, bright), Italian giallo (yellow), Lithuanian žalias (green), Ancient Greek χλωρός or khlōrós (light green), Persian زرد or zard (yellow), Sanskrit हरि or hari (greenish-yellow), Russian жёлтый or žóltyj (yellow), Russian зелёный or zeljónyj (green). Cognate with German gelb (yellow), Dutch geel (yellow).

The verb is from Old English ġeolwian, from the adjective.


yellow (comparative yellower or more yellow, superlative yellowest or most yellow)

  1. Having yellow (noun) as its color.
    I wore a yellow jacket to school.
  2. (informal) Lacking courage.
  3. (publishing, journalism) Characterized by sensationalism, lurid content, and doubtful accuracy.
    If I were to read a tabloid, I'd pick Weekly World News over the National Enquirer; though both are not real news, at least WWN has cool stuff about aliens and strange creatures, not the yellow journalism and celebrity gossip that most tabloid readers prefer.
  4. (UK politics) Related to the Liberal Democrats.
  5. (politics) Related to the Free Democratic Party; a political party in Germany.

Derived terms

  • yellow birch
  • yellowbird
  • yellow brick road
  • yellow cake
  • yellow dwarf
  • yellow fever
  • yellowish
  • yellow journalism
  • yellow light
  • yellow pages
  • yellow pine
  • yellow poplar
  • Yellow River
  • Yellow Sea
  • yellowtail


yellow (plural yellows)

  1. The color of gold, cheese, or a lemon; the color obtained by mixing green and red light, or by subtracting blue from white light.
    I once put yellow text on a white background, but eventually I realized that this combination was nearly invisible.
  2. (US) The intermediate light in a set of three traffic lights, the illumination of which indicates that drivers should stop short of the intersection if it is safe to do so.
  3. (snooker) One of the color balls used in snooker, with a value of 2 points.
  4. (pocket billiards) One of two groups of object balls, or a ball from that group, as used in the principally British version of pool that makes use of unnumbered balls (the (yellow(s) and red(s)); contrast stripes and solids in the originally American version with numbered balls).
  5. (sports) A yellow card.
  6. Any of various pierid butterflies of the subfamily Coliadinae, especially the yellow colored species.


yellow (third-person singular simple present yellows, present participle yellowing, simple past and past participle yellowed)

  1. To become yellow or more yellow.
  2. To make (something) yellow or more yellow.


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