Recorded from Old English (in form geolu, geolu) the word is of West Germanic origin, and is related to gold.
yellow alert the preliminary stage of an alert, when danger is thought to be near but not actually imminent; a warning of such a situation.
yellowback a cheap novel in a yellow board binding, sold in late 19th-century railway bookstalls.
Yellow Book an illustrated literary periodical published quarterly in the UK between 1894 and 1897, associated with the Aesthetic Movement. Often controversial, it contained contributions from writers including Max Beerbohm, Henry James, Edmund Gosse, Arnold Bennett, and H. G. Wells. The art editor was Aubrey Beardsley. It was so named because of its distinctive yellow binding.
yellow card in soccer and some other games, a yellow card shown by the referee to a player being cautioned.
yellow-dog contract in the US, an agreement by which an employee undertakes not to join a union, as a condition of employment; yellow dog here implies something regarded as of little account. Contracts of this kind were common in the 1920s; they were prohibited in 1932.
yellow-dog Democrat in the US, a diehard Democrat, who will vote for a Democratic candidate, regardless of their personal qualities; the term implies someone who would vote for even a yellow dog if it were on the party ticket.
yellow fever a tropical virus disease affecting the liver and kidneys, causing fever and jaundice and often fatal, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. It was also known informally as yellow jack.
yellow flag a ship's yellow or quarantine flag (denoting the letter Q), indicating a request for customs clearance when flown alone.
Yellowhammer State an informal name for Alabama.
yellow jack an archaic term for yellow fever, or for a ship's yellow quarantine flag.
yellow jersey in a cycling race involving stages, a yellow jersey worn each day by the rider who is ahead on time over the whole race to that point, and presented to the rider with the shortest overall time at the finish of the race.
Yellow Pages in the UK, are a telephone directory, or a section of one, printed on yellow paper and listing businesses and other organizations according to the goods or services they offer. Its advertising slogan of the 1960s, ‘Let your fingers do the walking’, has become well-known.
yellow peril a dated and derogatory term for the supposed danger posed by Asiatic peoples to the rest of the world; the expression is recorded from 1900.
yellow press newspapers of an unscrupulously sensational character; journalists working on such papers. The use of yellow in this sense derives from the appearance in 1895 of a number of the New York World in which a child in a yellow dress (‘The Yellow Kid’) was the central figure of the cartoon, an experiment in colour-printing designed to attract purchasers.
Yellow River the second-largest river in China, which rises in the mountains of west central China and flows over 4,830 km (3,000 miles) in a huge semicircle before entering the gulf of Bo Hai.
yellow star a piece of yellow cloth bearing the Star of David, which the Nazis required Jews to wear.
Yellowstone National Park a national park in NW Wyoming and Montana. Named after the Yellowstone River, a tributary of the Missouri which runs through it, the park was established in 1872 and was the first national park in the US. It is noted for its many geysers, hot springs, and mud volcanoes, especially Old Faithful, a geyser which erupts every 45 to 80 minutes to a height of about one hundred feet.
yel·low / ˈyelō/ • adj. 1. of the color between green and orange in the spectrum, a primary subtractive color complementary to blue; colored like ripe lemons or egg yolks: curly yellow hair. ∎ offens. having a naturally yellowish or olive skin (as used to describe Chinese or Japanese people). ∎ denoting a warning of danger that is thought to be near but not actually imminent: he put Camp Visoko on yellow alert. 2. inf. cowardly: he'd better get back there quick and prove he's not yellow. 3. (of a book or newspaper) unscrupulously sensational. • n. 1. yellow color or pigment: painted in vivid blues and yellows. 2. the yolk of an egg. 3. (yellows) any of a number of plant diseases in which the leaves turn yellow, typically caused by viruses and transmitted by insects. • v. [intr.] become a yellow color, esp. with age: the cream paint was beginning to yellow DERIVATIVES: yel·low·ish adj.yel·low·ness n.yel·low·y adj.ORIGIN: Old English geolu, geolo; related to Dutch geel and German gelb, also to gold.