A Writers Guide to Yellow

yellow

Yellow is cheerful and uplifting. It is associated with joy and happiness. Many believe people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms and babies cry more in yellow surroundings.

Yellow enhances concentration and speeds metabolism. In chromotherapy, yellow is used to stimulate creative and intellectual energy as well as to strengthen the nervous system.

Yellow is the color between green and orange. In color theory, yellow is one of the three primary colors. It’s complementary color is purple.

Chromophobia*

  • Fear of yellow: xanthophobia

roadsignSymbolism

  • Yellow symbolizes wisdom, success, and peace.
  • In medieval Europe, yellow symbolized reason.
  • Yellow is also a symbol of jealousy and deceit.
  • Due to the good visibility of the color yellow, it is used as a sign of warning. It means “use caution” and “slow down.” Isn’t it interesting how red, orange, and yellow are all used to alert us to some impending danger?
  • A yellow ribbon is a sign of support for soldiers on the front.
  • Yellow foreshadows or adds emphasis to a scene: exuberance, obsessiveness, innocence, caution, and/or happiness.

Superstitions and Beliefs

  • Yellow signifies mourning in Egypt.
  • In ancient Egypt, the skin and bones of the gods were believed to be made of gold.
  • In Japan, yellow is the color of courage.
  • In China, yellow is the color of nobility and royalty.
  • In Confucianism, yellow is the color of perfection and nobility.
  • In China, yellow represents happiness, glory, and wisdom.
  • Also in China, strips of yellow cloth in the streets or outside homes will keep evil spirits away.
  • In India, yellow is the color used by merchants.
  • marigold

    marigold

    In Mexico, the bright yellow-orange marigold is associated with Día de Muertos, The Day of the Dead (Oct, 31-Nov 1). The petals will guide the spirits to the family altar.

  • The ancient Maya associated yellow with the direction South.
  • In Thailand, yellow is the color of Monday. It is good luck to wear yellow on Monday. It is unlucky on Tuesdays.
  • In Hinduism, Krishna is commonly portrayed dressed in yellow.
  • Yellow is the color of wisdom to Buddhists.
  • In Christianity, yellow represents the sin of greed.
  • Yellow gemstones enhance a writer’s and a public speaker’s expression and articulation. Let’s see, where is that yellow topaz?
  • American Indians associate yellow face paint with intellect and determination, and yellow war paint with the willingness to fight to the death.
  • Seeing a yellow bird is lucky.
  • Yellow flowers in the home will bring good luck.
  • Wearing a yellow crocus on St. Valentines Day wards off bad things happening in your love life.
  • Yellow roses mean congratulations. They also mean friendship.
  • Yellow daffodils are the symbol of unrequited love.
  • Yellow represents the third (solar plexus) chakra.

Yellow History

  • The Egyptians used yellow in tomb paintings.
  • In ancient Greece, the gods were depicted with yellow hair.
  • In heraldry, yellow or more specifically gold (or) signifies wisdom, generosity, glory, constancy, and faith.
  • In Japan during the War of Dynasty (1357-1412), warriors from the South wore a yellow chrysanthemum as a golden badge of courage.
  • During the 10th century, France painted the doors of traitors and criminals yellow.
  • In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church ordered repentant Cathars to wear a Cathar yellow cross (a badge of shame).
  • During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, yellow became associate with Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ though the Bible never describes his clothing.
  • In the Middle Ages, actors portraying the dead wore yellow.
  • A yellow patch was used to label Jews in the Middle Ages. European Jews were forced to wear yellow or yellow “Stars of David” during the Nazi era of prosecution.
  • In 16th century Spain, people accused of heresy and who refused to renounce their views were compelled to appear before the Spanish Inquisition dressed in a yellow cape.
  • Yellow fever, also known as yellow jack and yellow plague is an acute viral disease. Liver damage causes the skin to turn yellow.
  • During the 1800s, the best graphite came from China. American pencil makers made the pencil yellow to show people they contain Chinese graphite.
  • The Yellow Kid

    The Yellow Kid

    In 1895, colored comic strips began appearing in New York newspapers. One of the first characters in the new comic strips was a New York city kid named Mickey Dugen, commonly known as the Yellow Kid due to his yellow nightshirt. The comic was known for its humor and social commentary. The newspapers which ran the Yellow Kid became known as the yellow kid papers which was shortened to the yellow papers and yellow kid journalism was shortened to yellow journalism.

  • Yellow and saffron colors are worn by sadhu, the wandering holy men in India.
  • In Buddhism, saffron colored robes are worn by monks.
  • In Italy, yellow books (giallo) refer to crime novels. In 1929, translations of U.S. and British mysteries were given yellow covers.
  • In China, a yellow movie refers adult movies.

Pigments & Dyes

  • The oldest pigment is yellow ochre made from clay. It is non-toxic. The ancient Egyptians also used orpiment (a deep orange-yellow mineral) to create a brilliant yellow. It is very toxic.
  • Europeans in the Middle Ages manufactured lead-tin yellow made lead and tin and therefore poisonous.
  • Indian yellow is a transparent, fluorescent pigment used in oil paintings and watercolors. Originally magnesium euxanthate, it was claimed to have been produced from the urine of Indian cows fed only on mango leaves. The color is now man-made.
  • Naples yellow (lead antimonate yellow) is one of the oldest synthetic pigments, derived from the mineral bindheimite. It was used extensively up to the 20th century. Due to it’s toxicity it is not longer used.
  • Cadmium yellow (cadmium sulfide, CdS) has been used in artists’ paints since the mid-19th century. It is also toxic.
  • Turmeric and saffron, both plant materials, have been used as dyes.

Phrases and Sayings

Having a yellow streak or being yellow-bellied – indicates cowardice
High yellow – a term from the early 20th century to describe light-skinned African-Americans
Yellow Dog Contract – an agreement between an employer and an employee in which the employee agrees, as a condition of employment, not to join a labor union
Yellow Dog Democrat – a hard-core Democrat
Yellow Jack – a plain yellow flag on ships signifying disease in both ships and ports
Yellow House – a Russian colloquialism meaning insane asylum
Yellow Journalism – irresponsible and alarmist reporting
Yellow Pages – a directory of business and service telephone numbers
The Yellow Peril – a political and popular fiction term of the late 19th and early 20th century to describe the alleged economic and cultural danger posed to Europe and America by Chinese immigration

Meanings of Shades and Tints of Yellow

  • Dull yellow: caution, decay, sickness, aging
  • Light yellow: intellect, freshness, joy

Words for Yellow

Light Yellows
apricot
blond / blonde
buff
champagne
ivory
lemon chiffon
Navajo white
peach
sandy
straw
~
Pale Yellows
buttery
cream
ecru
isabelline
vanilla
~
Yellow-Greens
chartreuse
straw
~
Yellowish or Turning Yellow
icterine
luteolous
lutescent
xanthic
Medium Yellows
canary
chartreuse
citrine
dandelion
Day-Glo yellow
flavescent
gold / golden
honey
jonquil
lemon
maize
marigold
mustard
Naples yellow
pineapple
saffron
sulphur / sulphureous
~
Yellow-Oranges/Reds
amber
apricot
citrine
gamboge
gold / golden
goldentod
jonquil
luteous
mikado
maize
marigold
mustard
Naples yellow
Navajo white
or
peach
saffron
Dark Yellows
amber
gamboge
goldenrod
mikado
topaz
~
Yellow-Browns
brass
buff
caramel
curry
fallow
flaxen
fulvous
isabelline
ivory
ochre
sallow
sandy
tawny
vanilla

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Yellow and You

Are you wearing yellow right now?
You feel active today. A lot interests you.
If you’re wearing bright yellow, you’re feeling spontaneous too.

Look in your closet. Is yellow a predominate color in your wardrobe?
You are lively and like to be involved. You cope well with life. You desire happiness.

Do you just dislike the color yellow?
You have suffered many disappointments.

Do you drive a yellow car?
Yellow: You are joyful and have a sense of humor.
Gold: You are warm, intelligent, and glamorous.

*Chromophobia, also known as chromatophobia or chrematophobia, is a persistent, irrational fear of, or aversion to, colors and is usually a conditioned response. Color phobis are often caused by a traumatic experience from the past, usually childhood. The color becomes associated with the trauma but the individual may not remember the event or realize the connection. It could also be culturally related with meanings attached to the color. Conditioning or brain chemistry may also be the cause. While actual clinical phobias to color are rare, colors can elicit hormonal responses and psychological reactions. Reactions include heart palpations, panic, sweating, breathlessness, nausea, shaking, dizziness, and dry mouth. Treatments include behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, and psychotherapy.

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Use yellow wisely in writing, painting,
decorating, and in your wardrobe!
 
What is your favorite yellow fruit or vegetable?
How many yellow fruits or veggies can you name?
My current count is twenty. I’ll post them in the comments over the weekend.
colorindex
Sources:
The wardrobe portion of this post was created using The Complete Book of Color by Suzy Chizzari.
The car information from Today.
If It’s Purple, Someone’s Gonna Die by Patti Bellantoni
awesome yellow sphere and series logo by me!
sign by clipart.com
marigold and Yellow Kid by Wikimedia.org
Share! It will make you happy, trust me.

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19 Comments

  1. I never cared too much for the colour, till I had my first child, and his favourite colour was clearly yellow. I then swung to the other extreme, and for three years even had only yellow flowers in my garden.

    Pineapple is the first that comes to mind, but I am sure there are many many more. Melon, lime and lemon too.

  2. Yellow fruit – guess that would be the banana.

    And if red means stop and green means go, yellow means go real fast!

  3. Interesting information about yellow. Yellow to me always reminds me of sunshine so that's a happy thing. As for a vegetable, squash is one.

  4. A banana and a lemon are yellow!

    Yellow is not my favorite color. I don't wear much of it and I wouldn't paint my room yellow. But I do like the color of the sun: golden yellow.

  5. I'm with Mason. Yellow always reminds me of sunshine and happy faces. My kitchen is bright yellow because I spend so much time there that I want to feel happy. 🙂

    Yellow is my all time favorite color–but bright happy yellows, not sickly yellows. Although I do like butter yellow, cause I like butter. 🙂 Mmmmm, real butter…

  6. Xenophilius Lovegood says you should wear bright yellow to a wedding to send luck to the happy couple ;-J

    I love yellow, especially yellow flowers–sunflowers always make me happy, but I can't wear it (except sort of the mustard shade) because it is so bad with my pasty skin tone.

  7. This is so interesting! I guess I don't like yellow much because I could hardly look at that big yellow ball – it hurt my eyes. I do like bananas, though!

  8. Red, orange, yellow. These are all my favorite colors. I can think of 11 fruits and veggies that are yellow – a long way from your 20!

  9. This is so interesting, I just copied it to my bits and pieces file.

    Thanks for coming over to my blog and commenting on my Lefties post. My daughter Jen's least favorite color, however, is YELLOW. But I love it. It's so sunny, so cheerful. And as you point out, it has many, many connotations, including some that aren't so sunny.

    How fun. Thank you.
    Ann

  10. Love this kind of post! I'm a blue person myself, but I've found that I'm drawn to people who like orange. Wonder what that means? I'm going to check the Orange post now…

  11. I'm with you; I love the lemon color, but almost all other yellows make me nuts, haha. I do love a saffron, curry yellow. I think that's really earthy and pretty.

  12. Hmmm, very interesting! I don't have much yellow clothing, but I don't dislike the color.

    I love bananas and lemons (not to eat just like that, of course, but anything lemon flavored) annnnnd… um… what else is yellow? Is it bad that I can only think of 2? I blame it on this cold 😉

  13. mmmm, pineapple. I love pineapple. This is so interesting. I have to bookmark this for future reference.

  14. And I remember hearing that places like McDonald's used to paint their walls icky yellow so people would eat and get the f out of there.
    This was pretty interesting. What's more interesting is that I don't own one single article of yellow clothing…

  15. Hilary Melton-Butcher said…
    Hi – interesting thoughts on yellow – I love yellows .. in its various forms .. lemon yellow and Cornish Cream yellow!

    So fruits and veggie .. yellow squash (patty pans – had some last night – so fresh, straight from the plant), yellow plums .. and on we go – just not sur how many I can count – I'll hve to think during the day!

    Loved the thoughts and info here .. enjoy your yellow mellow day -Hilary

  16. Well Susan, that yellow ball is quite bright.

    Personally, I prefer a light lemon yellow or yellow cream. Yellow was my favorite color when I was a very young.

    I love lemons as a drink, in a pie, as a condiment….

  17. Okay…here we go: apricot, butternut squash, cape gooseberry, yellow carrots, golden kiwifruit, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, rutabaga, sweet corn, yellow apples, yellow beets, yellow figs, yellow pears, yellow peppers, yellow potatoes, yellow summer squash, yellow tomatoes, yellow watermelon, and yellow winter squash.

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