Meaning of YELLOW in English


I. ˈye](ˌ)lō, ]lə; ]ləw or ]lō+V; dial or NewEng & Brit +V ]lər; dial ˈya] ( but ˈyalə(r) often occurs in standard speech when “high” precedes adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English yelwe, yelow, yalow, from Old English geolu; akin to Old High German gelo yellow, Old Norse gulr yellow, Old Irish gel white, Latin helvus light bay, Greek chlōros greenish yellow, Sanskrit hari yellowish, greenish; basic meaning: shimmer, glow


a. : of the color yellow : of a color of the hue of sulfur or of a hue somewhat less red than that of gold

b. : changed to a yellow hue through age, disease (as jaundice), or discoloration : yellowed , sallow

yellow parchment

yellow skin

c. : having a yellow or mulatto complexion or skin

immigration of Orientals raised a false specter of the peril of the yellow races

having had a white father, he is known as a yellow Negro

the yellow girl stopped — R.P.Warren

2. archaic : affected with envy : jaundiced , jealous


a. : gaining or holding interest by printing or headlining sensational or scandalous items or ordinary news sensationally distorted

tempers might have subsided altogether had not a yellow newspaper … exhorted the soldiers to stand for their rights — Dixon Wecter

the same technique of sensationalism that had lured new readers to the yellow journals — H.L.Smith b. 1906

set his newspaper off sharply from the yellow journalism of morbid sensationalism which flowered … at the turn of the century — F.L.Mott

b. : mean , dishonorable , cowardly

the little yellow stain of treason — M.W.Straight

is too yellow to stand up and fight

has a pronounced yellow streak

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

transitive verb

: to make or turn yellow : cause to have a yellow tinge or color

old clothes and papers that time and neglect have yellowed

wild daffodils were yellowing the grassy slopes — Victoria Sackville-West

the sun yellows the meadow

intransitive verb

: to become or turn yellow

I let my tobacco yellow for about a week — Caroline Gordon

the leaves yellow in the fall

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English yelow, yalow, from yelow, yalow yellow (adjective)


a. : a color whose hue resembles that of ripe lemons or sunflowers or is that of the portion of the spectrum lying between green and orange

b. : the one of the four psychologically primary hues that is evoked in the normal observer under normal conditions by radiant energy of the wavelength 580 millimicrons

c. : one of the six psychologically primary object colors — compare primary 4a

d. : one of the subtractive primaries

e. : a pigment or dye that colors yellow

2. : something that is yellow or is chiefly distinguished by a yellow color: as

a. : a person having yellow skin

had engaged blacks, browns, yellows about equally — Frances Gaither

b. : sulphur II

c. : the yolk of an egg

d. : yellow sponge

3. yellows plural : jaundice , weil's disease

4. yellows plural : any of several plants: as

a. : yellow lady's-slipper

b. : crambling rocket

5. yellows plural : any of several plant diseases (as of aster, celery, or peach) caused by fungi, bacteria, malnutrition, or especially by viruses and characterized by yellowing of the foliage and stunting

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.