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yellow peril

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noun Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. (in historical contexts) the alleged danger that predominantly white Western civilizations and populations could be overwhelmed by Asian peoples.
  2. the Asian peoples regarded as presenting such a danger.
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Origin of yellow peril

First recorded in 1895–1900
Also called yellow terror.

Usage note

See yellow.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for yellow peril

yellow peril

noun
  1. the power or alleged power of Asiatic peoples, esp the Chinese, to threaten or destroy the supremacy of White or Western civilization
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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

yellow peril in Culture

Yellow Peril

A supposed threat to the United States posed by Japan and China. The phrase arose in the late nineteenth century, at a time when Japanese and Chinese immigration to America was meeting resistance and when Japan was growing as a military power. (See internment of Japanese Americans.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.