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[yel-oh-bel-ee] /ˈyɛl oʊˌbɛl i/
noun, plural yellowbellies.
Slang. a person who is without courage, fortitude, or nerve; coward.
Origin of yellowbelly
1790-1800; yellow + belly Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for yellow-belly
Historical Examples
  • In his notes, the yellow-belly may be said to take after both the least flycatcher and the wood pewee.

    The Foot-path Way Bradford Torrey
  • Around the middle of each corn fairy is a yellow-belly belt.

    Rootabaga Stories Carl Sandburg
  • Praed was a quitter—a yellow-belly—besides being—But he stopped there.

British Dictionary definitions for yellow-belly


noun (pl) -lies
a slang word for coward
(Austral) another name for callop
Derived Forms
yellow-bellied, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for yellow-belly



A coward; a poltroon: He is a contemptible yellow-belly, scared of his own shadow

[1930+; probably a rhyming expansion of yellow; influenced by the early 1800s sense, ''a Mexican, esp a Mexican soldier,'' perhaps fr the color of their uniforms]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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