high yellow

nounSlang: Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a term used to refer to a light-skinned Black person.

Origin of high yellow

First recorded in 1920–25
  • Also high yaller [yal-er], /ˈyæl ər/, high yeller [yel-er]. /ˈyɛl ər/.

usage note For high yellow

This term implies that the person has a high proportion of white ancestry and looks more like a white person than a Black person. The term was most commonly used in the American South in the late 19th century and early 20th century, though it is still sometimes used today by both white people and Black people. See also yellow.

Other words from high yellow

  • high-yellow, adjective

Words Nearby high yellow

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use high yellow in a sentence

  • Long, thin, gray locks fell back from a high yellow forehead: there was blood on his mouth and about his beard.

    The Mark Of Cain | Andrew Lang
  • We go to the further end of the hospital, to a high yellow door, upon which is written in great black letters: Amphitheatre.

    Germinie Lacerteux | Edmond and Jules de Goncourt
  • Without awaiting her reply, the attendant led the way to a high yellow door, over which was written: Amphitheatre.

    Germinie Lacerteux | Edmond and Jules de Goncourt
  • Then I saw what looked like a high yellow wall advancing upon me—a roaring and fearsome mass of driven dust, sticks, debris.

    Painted Windows | Elia W. Peattie
  • The white over green Travelaire never slowed, fighting its way out of the blue into the ultra-high yellow and lighter traffic.

    Code Three | Rick Raphael