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.
- Fear of yellow: xanthophobia
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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
blond / blonde
Yellowish or Turning Yellow
gold / golden
sulphur / sulphureous
gold / golden
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.