adjective, yel·low·er, yel·low·est.

verb (used with or without object)

to make or become yellow: Yellow the sheets with dye. The white stationery had yellowed with age.

Nearby words

  1. yelisavetpol,
  2. yelizaveta petrovna,
  3. yelizavetgrad,
  4. yelk,
  5. yell,
  6. yellow alert,
  7. yellow archangel,
  8. yellow atrophy of liver,
  9. yellow avens,
  10. yellow belly

Origin of yellow

before 900; 1895–1900 for def 9; Middle English yelou (adj. and noun), Old English geolo, geolu (adj.); cognate with Dutch geel, German gelb, Latin helvus pale-yellow; akin to Old Norse gulr

Related formsyel·low·ly, adverbyel·low·ness, noun

Usage note

It is perceived as insulting to use yellow to describe a person of Asian or mixed racial origin, as in the terms yellow peril and high yellow. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for yellow

British Dictionary definitions for yellow



any of a group of colours that vary in saturation but have the same hue. They lie in the approximate wavelength range 585–575 nanometres. Yellow is the complementary colour of blue and with cyan and magenta forms a set of primary coloursRelated adjective: xanthous
a pigment or dye of or producing these colours
yellow cloth or clothingdressed in yellow
the yolk of an egg
a yellow ball in snooker, etc
any of a group of pieridine butterflies the males of which have yellow or yellowish wings, esp the clouded yellows (Colias spp.) and the brimstone


of the colour yellow
yellowish in colour or having parts or marks that are yellowishyellow jasmine
having a yellowish skin; Mongoloid
informal cowardly or afraid
offensively sensational, as a cheap newspaper (esp in the phrase yellow press)


to make or become yellow
See also yellows

Derived Formsyellowish, adjectiveyellowly, adverbyellowness, nounyellowy, adjective

Word Origin for yellow

Old English geolu; related to Old Saxon, Old High German gelo, Old Norse gulr, Latin helvus

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

Word Origin and History for yellow
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper