Definition of yellow in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈyelō/


1Of the color between green and orange in the spectrum, a primary subtractive color complementary to blue; colored like ripe lemons or egg yolks: curly yellow hair
More example sentences
  • Although the red tomatoes were good, the green and yellow ones weren't ripe enough.
  • One of the bedrooms to the front has a built-in desk and wardrobe and a blue and yellow colour scheme.
  • The two mixed together into one colour - just like yellow and blue become green.
flaxen, golden, gold, blond/blonde, fair;
lemon, cadmium yellow, daffodil, mustard, primrose yellow;
1.1 offensive Having a naturally yellowish or olive skin (as used to describe Chinese or Japanese people).
1.2Denoting a warning of danger that is thought to be near but not actually imminent: he put Camp Visoko on yellow alert
More example sentences
  • There's even a couple of yellow radioactivity warning lights for sinister effect.
  • So lets just say that the blog is being written on yellow alert and I reserve the right to not say everything on the blog.
  • Strapped to each one is a wooden stake with a bright yellow hazard tape attached, warning people to stay away.
2 informal Cowardly: he’d better get back there quick and prove he’s not yellow
More example sentences
  • So go stand on your feet like a man, or whine like the yellow coward that you are.
  • He is an ordinary candidate whose yellow streak has already shown itself.
  • Some of the men had gone soft and yellow and turned against them when Cartwright showed up, but that was no problem now.
2.1 archaic Showing jealousy or suspicion.
Example sentences
  • To say the least, there seemed to be a tinge of yellow jealousy and envy for one that many had ruled out as a political dinosaur.
3(Of a book or newspaper) unscrupulously sensational.
Example sentences
  • Like yellow journalism, it is yellow politics and I am against it.


1Yellow color or pigment: the craft detonated in a blaze of red and yellow painted in vivid blues and yellows
More example sentences
  • Buildings painted brilliant yellow, ochre, red or green and not looking over the top.
  • Huge sticker-boards in bright yellow, blue and red will greet the children as they walk in.
  • I have had a lot of success using the colours red and yellow, while green and blue tend to be very slow in producing runs.
1.1Yellow clothes or material: everyone dresses in yellow
More example sentences
  • My father had told me to have her look nice, and her blue and pink dress was much more suitable than her old yellow.
  • When Henry heard of her death, he celebrated at a banquet dressed in bright yellow from head to toes.
  • To my left stood a young girl dressed in bright orange and yellow.
2The yolk of an egg.
Example sentences
  • Instead it tore at the edges and gouged out chunks of egg white. The not-yet-set yolk broke and oozed yellow all over the pan.
  • The yellow of their egg yolks will be an even more intense golden color thanks to the natural orange pigments in the marigolds.
  • His legendary dhal is a yolk yellow with the unusual additions, tomatoes and lemons, left in the bowl.
3 (yellows) Any of a number of plant diseases in which the leaves turn yellow, typically caused by viruses and transmitted by insects.
Example sentences
  • Their research indicates that aster yellows are the primary disease concern.
  • A plant with aster yellows develops weak, yellowing leaves and twisted or distorted stems and flowers.
  • Stunted, twisted growth and oddly distorted flowers are the symptoms of aster yellows, a disease which often shows up in midsummer.


[no object]
Become a yellow color, especially with age: the cream paint was beginning to yellow (as adjective yellowing) yellowing lace curtains (as adjective yellowed) a yellowed newspaper cutting
More example sentences
  • The pages are yellowing, the leather worn, but the handwriting is still crystal clear.
  • The sun shone in through the office window, yellowing one of the policemen's trousers.
  • All else was a seemingly endless field of grass, tall, yellowing and waving gently in the warm breeze.


the yellow peril

offensive The political or military threat regarded as being posed by the Chinese or by the peoples of Southeast Asia.



Example sentences
  • Overhead, the full moon leered yellowly between ghostly wisps of cloud, and the Cathedral bells began to chime.
  • Distant lights beckoned yellowly, and Gideon moved towards them, his collar pulled uselessly up about his neck.
  • Walking, the fairly turned pianos yellowly softly sweat.


Pronunciation: /ˈyelōnəs/
Example sentences
  • In fact, it is quite obscenely lurid in its sheer, wanton yellowness.
  • I confronted this fact while standing in front of a gorgeous yellow bowl, decorated with nothing but its own perfect yellowness, which looked utterly Chinese to me.
  • And the thankfully near full moon was magically radiant in its slight yellowness, divinely suspended in nothingness amid the sequined backdrop of stars, planets and galaxies.


Pronunciation: /ˈyeləwē/
Example sentences
  • The yellowy gold brew isn't as hoppy as most true pale ales, but this is a good choice for Keith's drinkers who want to go a bit more upscale.
  • Actually, it's two varnishes - an opaque yellowy gold base coat and a see-through gold with glitter as the top coat.
  • Awash with glittering gold, adorned in yellowy brilliance, the jewellery designers cut a new path, defiantly and creatively.


Old English geolu, geolo; related to Dutch geel and German gelb, also to gold.

  • As with other colour words such as auburn and brown, the root of yellow probably referred to a wider range of colours than the modern word. It shares an ancestor with gold ( see golden), but is also related to gall (Old English), bile (mid 17th century), and the final element of melancholy, all of which derive from the greenish colour of bile. The yellow egg yolk (Old English), which could be spelt yelk into the 17th century, was also related to yellow. In the 17th century yellow rather than green was the colour of jealousy, possibly with the idea of a jealous person being ‘jaundiced’ or bitter. The word jaundice (Middle English) is from Old French jaune ‘yellow’, from the symptomatic yellowish complexion. Yellow is now associated with cowardice, a link that began in the 1850s in the USA. Since the 1920s a coward has been said to be yellow-bellied or a yellow-belly.

Words that rhyme with yellow

Bargello, bellow, bordello, cello, Donatello, fellow, jello, martello, mellow, morello, niello, Novello, Pirandello, Portobello, Punchinello, Uccello, violoncello

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: yel·low

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