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 light olive or light brown complexion
2a : featuring sensational or scandalous items or ordinary news sensationally distorted yellow journalism
b : mean, cowardly


plural yellows

Definition of yellow (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something yellow or marked by a yellow color: such as
a sometimes offensive : a person having light olive 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

Other Words from yellow


yellowish \ ˈye-​lə-​wish How to pronounce yellow (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. See More
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, 20 July 2017 In addition to selling yellow mustard and hot sauce, the division makes ketchup, onion flavorings and other products. Nick Turner,, 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, 19 July 2017 Majeski pulled off with two laps remaining during the final yellow flag situation. Tony Baranek, Daily Southtown, 16 July 2017 Either red or yellow maca will work here, but the flavor of the red is more mild. Anya Tchoupakov, Bon Appetit, 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, 10 July 2017 Layered yellow atop thick green strokes conjure up a bouquet without providing any detail. Anne Kniggendorf,, 3 July 2017 Ebony, 32, slipped the voucher back into its bright yellow folder and waited. Alden Woods, azcentral, 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, 20 June 2017 Living Room Suites use bold combinations of deep yellow and navy blue. Gabe Hartwig,, 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,, 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, 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,, 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., 22 May 2017 A video posted last month of Xiaoman biting off tender morsels of yellow... Kathy Chu, WSJ, 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,, 12 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But kids, pets, furniture and everyday dirt can spoil their appearance or cause damage, and sunlight can yellow or fade finishes. Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2021 The trees do yellow and drop their leaves during fall. Tom Maccubbin,, 20 Nov. 2021 The case itself is protected against scratches and guaranteed not to yellow. Brad Moon, Forbes, 6 Nov. 2021 Perhaps the best time to do needed dividing is mid-summer, when the stems begin to yellow and start to die back to the ground. Tom Maccubbin,, 3 July 2021 In home offices around the country, the wallpaper has begun to yellow. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 10 May 2021 Iron deficiencies yellow the tissue between small veins on young leaves. oregonlive, 28 Mar. 2021 Henry suggested looking for a non-yellowing resin, because some cheaper brands will yellow the tint in the sun. oregonlive, 3 Mar. 2021 More leaves may yellow and drop as new growth appears in the spring. Dan Gill,, 4 Nov. 2020 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near yellow

yell leader


yellow adder's-tongue

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Cite this Entry

“Yellow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for 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

More from Merriam-Webster on yellow

Nglish: Translation of yellow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of yellow for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about yellow


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