synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of yellow in English

English Online Dictionary. What means yellow‎? What does yellow mean?


Alternative forms

  • yeallow (obsolete), yeller (dialect)


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 (khlōrós, light green), Persian زرد(zard, yellow), Sanskrit हरि (hari, greenish-yellow), Russian жёлтый (žóltyj, yellow), Russian зелёный (zeljónyj, green). Cognate with German gelb (yellow), Dutch geel (yellow).

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


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈjɛl.əʊ/
  • (General American) enPR: yĕl′ō, IPA(key): /ˈjɛl.oʊ/
  • (dialect) IPA(key): /ˈjɛl.ɚ/
  • (dated, Southern US folk speech) IPA(key): /jɛlə/, /ˈjælə/, /ˈjɑlə/, /ˈjɪlə/, /ˈjʌlə/
  • Rhymes: -ɛləʊ


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

  1. Having yellow as its color.
    • 1962 (quoting c. 1398 text), Hans Kurath & Sherman M. Kuhn, editors, Middle English Dictionary, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, ISBN 978-0-472-01044-8, page 1242:
      dorrẹ̅, dōrī adj. & n. [] Golden or reddish-yellow [] (a. 1398) *Trev. Barth. 59b/a: ȝelouȝ colour [of urine] [] tokeneþ febleness of hete [] dorrey & citrine & liȝt red tokeneþ mene.
    Antonyms: nonyellow, unyellow
  2. (informal) Lacking courage.
    Synonym: cowardly
  3. (publishing, journalism) Characterized by sensationalism, lurid content, and doubtful accuracy.
  4. (chiefly derogatory, offensive, ethnic slur) Of the skin, having the colour traditionally attributed to Far East Asians, especially Chinese.
  5. (chiefly derogatory, offensive, ethnic slur) Far East Asian (relating to Asian people).
  6. (dated, Australia, offensive) Of mixed Aboriginal and Caucasian ancestry.
  7. (dated, US) Synonym of high yellow
  8. (UK politics) Related to the Liberal Democrats.
  9. (politics) Related to the Free Democratic Party; a political party in Germany.

Derived terms



yellow (plural yellows)

  1. The colour of gold, cheese, or a lemon; the colour obtained by mixing green and red light, or by subtracting blue from white light.
  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 colour 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 coloured species. Compare sulphur.


  • (light wavelengths): xantho- (xanth-)
  • (intermediate light in a set of three traffic lights): amber (British)


  • (intermediate light in a set of three traffic lights): red, green


  • (color): bronze yellow, cadmium yellow, fast yellow AB, quinoline yellow, school bus yellow, sulfur yellow, sulphur yellow, taxi yellow, yellow-green, yellow 2G

Derived terms

  • beyellowed
  • see yellow



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

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


See also

  • All pages with yellow as a prefix


  • “yellow”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.


  • Yowell

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.