yel·​low | \ ˈye-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce yellow (audio) , dialectal ˈye-lər or ˈya- \

Definition of yellow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : of the color yellow
b : become yellowish through age, disease, or discoloration : sallow
c sometimes offensive : having a yellowish or light brown complexion or skin
2a : featuring sensational or scandalous items or ordinary news sensationally distorted yellow journalism



Definition of yellow (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something yellow or marked by a yellow color: such as
a sometimes offensive : a person having yellowish or light brown skin
b : the yolk of an egg
2a : a color whose hue resembles that of ripe lemons or sunflowers or is that of the portion of the spectrum lying between green and orange
b : a pigment or dye that colors yellow
3 yellows plural : jaundice
4 yellows plural in form but singular in construction : any of several plant diseases caused especially by phytoplasmas and marked by yellowing of the foliage and stunting


yellowed; yellowing; yellows

Definition of yellow (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to become or turn yellow

transitive verb

: to make yellow : give a yellow tinge or color to yellowed by time

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Other Words from yellow


yellowish \ ˈye-​lə-​wish How to pronounce yellowish (audio) \ adjective

Examples of yellow in a Sentence

Adjective He was too yellow to stand up and fight. you'll come with us into the cave, unless you're yellow Noun The bridesmaids were dressed in yellow. a room decorated in yellows and greens Verb The paper had yellowed with age. The leaves were yellowed by disease.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The look features bright coral eyeshadow covering the eyelid, a fuchsia shade in the crease, and a swipe of fluorescent yellow eyeliner on the outside half of the eye and right under the brow. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Makeup Artist Accuses Real Techniques of Copying a Look She Created Without Permission," 20 July 2017 In addition to selling yellow mustard and hot sauce, the division makes ketchup, onion flavorings and other products. Nick Turner,, "McCormick Buys Reckitt Benckiser Food Unit for $4.2 Billion," 19 July 2017 Three prominent Austin chefs teamed up with the Youngblood family to build a new restaurant from scratch that looks like a legacy chicken dinner house, down to the bright blue-and-yellow colors and the helpings of hot yeast rolls with honey. Bud Kennedy, star-telegram, "Three local restaurant comeback stories, starting with Youngblood’s fried chicken," 19 July 2017 Majeski pulled off with two laps remaining during the final yellow flag situation. Tony Baranek, Daily Southtown, "Ricky Baker holds his ground in wild ARCA Wayne Carter Classic victory," 16 July 2017 Either red or yellow maca will work here, but the flavor of the red is more mild. Anya Tchoupakov, Bon Appetit, "25 Healthy Breakfast Recipes Because Who Knows How the Rest of the Day Will Go," 12 July 2017 The group recently wore matching black polos with yellow piping from the British brand, like some sort of unofficial uniform. Christine Flammia, Esquire, "Fred Perry Wants Nothing to Do With Its Alt-Right Fanboys," 10 July 2017 Layered yellow atop thick green strokes conjure up a bouquet without providing any detail. Anne Kniggendorf,, "First Friday gallery guide: Five shows to see," 3 July 2017 Ebony, 32, slipped the voucher back into its bright yellow folder and waited. Alden Woods, azcentral, "60 days to find a home: Lack of affordable housing forces renters to settle," 2 July 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Capital Bikeshare, the popular Washington-area bicycle program, may get a corporate sponsor and advertising on the iconic red-and-yellow bikes next year. Patricia Sullivan, Washington Post, "Advertising may be coming to Capital Bikeshare bikes," 20 June 2017 Living Room Suites use bold combinations of deep yellow and navy blue. Gabe Hartwig,, "3 Memphis getaways: rock star, rustic or refined," 9 June 2017 There isn’t even a cross walk or a speed bump or a caution sign or a flashing yellow; there is nothing but blacktop for miles. Neil Senturia,, "How about a Tinder for start-ups in San Diego?," 5 June 2017 CENTRALIA — Men, women and children, all wearing yellow numbered Army identification tags, gathered at the Chehalis Train Depot on June 2, 1942. Graham Perednia, The Seattle Times, "‘Most lost everything they had’: Centralia museum honors interned Japanese-Americans," 3 June 2017 Three other sterile barberry varieties that are being grown by wholesalers for later sale are a super compact cultivar with yellow foliage, and two compact shrubs, one with yellow and the other with green foliage. Theresa Sullivan Barger,, "UConn Horticulturists Creating Sterile Versions Of Invasive Shrubs," 1 June 2017 The gleaming fleet of green-and-yellow John Deere tractors is still driven by Chinese workers, while almost two-thirds of Gaza's population lives in poverty., "China Spins a Global Food Web From Mozambique to Missouri," 22 May 2017 A video posted last month of Xiaoman biting off tender morsels of yellow... Kathy Chu, WSJ, "How a Toddler Who Loves Eating Transfixed China," 21 May 2017 Dwyer is suspended for the match after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season — most in MLS — in last weekend’s loss to Minnesota. Sam Mcdowell,, "Dom Dwyer’s suspension highlights the need for Sporting KC to develop a reliable backup," 12 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There is one North American native species that blooms yellow in the fall (Hamamelis virginiana), but all others bloom sometime between New Year’s Day and about the first week of April. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Got the winter blues? Cheer up with these colorful winter-blooming plants for your garden," 10 Jan. 2020 Now, just a few stacks remain, filled with yellowing paper wedged into blue, red, and manila folders., "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 25 Dec. 2019 After stopping at a vintage emporium off the Sawmill Parkway on a recent return from a trip upstate, a friend of mine made an odd purchase: a yellowing box of a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts. Nora Deligter, Vogue, "Food for Thought: On the Surprising Appeal of Inedible Art," 20 Dec. 2019 Giannini could see them through the plate-glass windows of his barbershop, with its yellowing 49ers posters on the walls and a striped pole out front. Rachel Swan,, "To speed up buses, SF cut parking on San Bruno Ave. Welcome to the city’s future," 19 Dec. 2019 Check your houseplants for any sticky residue on leaves, yellowing leaves or tiny mites at the junction of leaves and stem. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Answering reader questions: Feeding birds, replacing dead spruce trees and getting poinsettias to bloom again," 10 Oct. 2019 The pages of his otherwise active blog, too, are yellowing, in a manner of speaking. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "LK Advani: Hindu nationalism’s original poster boy who could not reap what he sowed," 8 Nov. 2019 Desirable grass may yellow but usually regreens and continues growth where the crabgrass turns brown. Tom Maccubbin,, "Groom, don’t prune hydrangeas," 5 Oct. 2019 Starting in 1939, the business led a successful campaign to make school buses yellow. Grant Segall,, "History of Sherwin-Williams and Cleveland has been intertwined for 153 years," 12 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yellow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of yellow


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for yellow


Middle English yelwe, yelow, from Old English geolu; akin to Old High German gelo yellow, Latin helvus light bay, Greek chlōros greenish yellow, Sanskrit hari yellowish

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Time Traveler for yellow

Time Traveler

The first known use of yellow was before the 12th century

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Statistics for yellow

Cite this Entry

“Yellow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for yellow


How to pronounce yellow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of yellow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having the color of the sun or of ripe lemons
informal : afraid in a way that makes you unable to do what is right or expected
: containing news that is meant to shock people and that is not true or is only partly true



English Language Learners Definition of yellow (Entry 2 of 3)

: the color of the sun or of ripe lemons



English Language Learners Definition of yellow (Entry 3 of 3)

: to become yellow or to cause (something) to become yellow


yel·​low | \ ˈye-lō How to pronounce yellow (audio) \

Kids Definition of yellow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : of the color of a lemon : colored yellow a yellow raincoat



Kids Definition of yellow (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : the color of a lemon
2 : something (as the yolk of an egg) yellow in color


yellowed; yellowing

Kids Definition of yellow (Entry 3 of 3)

: to turn yellow

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