To Iceberg Slim and his contemporaries, this was a jivespeak term for a yellow pill filled with barbituates. Good for keeping your whores calm.

Less literally, yellow can mean cowardly. This is, of course, an insult. One varation on this is to call the object of your derision a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. Which is a kind of bird, actually. I don't think there's anything particularly cowardly about it, though.

Coldplay's 2000 video for "Yellow" (lyrics above) is one of the most captivating and beautiful music videos I have ever experienced. There's just an simple, honest, earnest, spontaneous yet spectacularly amazing quality about it.

Directed by the UK directing duo James & Alex, the music video 'stars' Coldplay frontman Chris Martin in a rain-drenched stroll (or perhaps drunken stumbling) along St. Andrews beach in Scotland. The video is one continuous shot of Martin singing the song. The other band members were supposed to be in the shot as well, but inclement weather (and rumors are also swirling of the funeral for the dummer's mum being at the same time as the shoot) kept them and the other planned extras out.

The video was released after the song's single (Coldplay's first in the U.S. but second to "Shiver" in the U.K.). Capitol Records distributed it in the U.S. as an EPK (electronic press kit) also containing live performance and documentary segments. There is no commercially available copy of the video as of yet.

Winner of the award for Best Video of 2000 at the Plug-in Awards--a part of the Sundance film festival, it was also nominated for a Brit Award in 2001 for Best British Video, but did not win.

It is occasionally played on (American) VH1's Insomniac Music Theater, as well as late night MTV (They'll tell you they popularised it on M2). You're better off getting it from the numerous websites serving it up, including and the band's own website

This song by Coldplay from their album Parachutes has has a truly interesting meaning, one explained to me and the rest of the audience by the lead singer, Chris Martin, at their June 2, 2001 performance at the Electricy Factory in Philadelphia. Had I not been at the show to bear witness, I might not believe the story.

Seems he and the guitarist John Buckman set out to score some cocaine one evening and purchased what was supposed to be a box of coke (not sure what quantity this was supposed to be). However, when they got it home and opened the box (you never really check out drugs in front of a dealer), voila! It was filled with custard powder. And the custard powder was yellow.

Makes the lines "I drew a line/I drew a line for you/oh what a thing to do/you were all yellow" seem a bit more sensible, no?

KANJI: KOU OU ki ko (yellow)

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Character Etymology:

In early times, a pictograph containing an arrow--sometimes shown with a flaming tip--bound with combustable material; highly stylized to its present form.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: KOU OU
kun-yomi: ki ko-

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: ui rei

English Definitions:

  1. KOU, OU, ki: yellow.
  2. ki(bamu): turn yellow.
  3. ki(bami): yellow tint.

Character Index Numbers:

New Nelson: 7045
Henshall: 120

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

(kiiro): yellow
(ougon): gold; gold piece; money.
黄身 (kimi): yolk of an egg.

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To look yellow ; to be jealous.
I happened to call on Mr. Green, who was out: on coming home, and finding me with his wife, he began to look confounded blue, and was, I thought, a little yellow.
yellow belly

A native of the Fens of Licoinshire ; an allusion to the eels caught there.
yellow boys


The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

The Colour of My Enemy



Buttercups, sunshine, bright, happy, cornflakes. Makes me feel sick. Yellow filling up the world. Too much yellow.

I dye my hair black. I wear black clothes. I don't eat cornflakes. I have a night job. Nothing yellow around me, nothing to remind me of sad memories. Why did David have to turn up with a yellow rose? Memories have flooded into my mind.

Yellow where my bruises fade away. My shaven hair lying in a blonde mess on the floor. The brightness of my ripped shirt. His car as he drove away. Yellow crowding in.

Granddad's skin as he lies in the coffin, people crying all around, golden roses in the remembrance garden. Gold jewellery on people offering false condolences.

Yellow satin bridesmaid dresses as my sister gets married. Lost to me now, no one left to talk to. Used to brush her silky blonde hair. No one to look after. Alone in my nightmare.

Butter on pancakes, lemon meringue pie, cookies. Luxuries I'm not allowed. The simple pleasure of cheese, not for me. Banana flavoured cough medicine. Sickly sweet honey. Monotonous cornflakes. Food matching my fading bruises. Sadness.

Gold rings flashing as the fist descends. No escape.

Eyes watering, nose running. Wattle nearby, damn hay fever.

Happiness. Watching the neighbour's dog running free. Bright eyes and boundless energy. Not locked away, freedom stolen, like me. Horror. Blood as the car doesn't stop. Golden fur covered in red. False freedom.

The yellow rose is still in front of me, mocking me. Yellow filling my vision, memories filling my mind. Yellow. No. No room in my life for yellow. It can't exist, I won't let it exist, impossibility. David doesn't understand. Confusion on his face. Yellow. Gold earring in his ear. I close the door, shutting both him and the memories out of my life. Yellow is no longer a reality.


I wrote this short story in the year 2000 for an English class.

Yel"low (?), a. [Compar. Yellower (?); superl. Yellowest.] [OE. yelow, yelwe, &yogh;elow, &yogh;eoluw, from AS. geolu; akin to D. geel, OS. & OHG. gelo, G. gelb, Icel. gulr, Sw. gul, Dan. guul, L. helvus light bay, Gr. &?; young verdure, &?; greenish yellow, Skr. hari tawny, yellowish. &?;&?;&?;. Cf. Chlorine, Gall a bitter liquid, Gold, Yolk.]

Being of a bright saffronlike color; of the color of gold or brass; having the hue of that part of the rainbow, or of the solar spectrum, which is between the orange and the green.

Her yellow hair was browded [braided] in a tress.

A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought
First fruits, the green ear and the yellow sheaf.

The line of yellow light dies fast away.

Yellow atrophy (Med.), a fatal affection of the liver, in which it undergoes fatty degeneration, and becomes rapidly smaller and of a deep yellow tinge. The marked symptoms are black vomit, delirium, convulsions, coma, and jaundice. --
Yellow bark, calisaya bark. --
Yellow bass (Zoöl.), a North American fresh-water bass (Morone interrupta) native of the lower parts of the Mississippi and its tributaries. It is yellow, with several more or less broken black stripes or bars. Called also barfish. --
Yellow berry. (Bot.) Same as Persian berry, under Persian. --
Yellow boy, a gold coin, as a guinea. [Slang] Arbuthnot. --
Yellow brier. (Bot.) See under Brier. --
Yellow bugle (Bot.), a European labiate plant (Ajuga Chamæpitys). --
Yellow bunting (Zoöl.), the European yellow-hammer. --
Yellow cat (Zoöl.), a yellow catfish; especially, the bashaw. --
Yellow copperas (Min.), a hydrous sulphate of iron; -- called also copiapite. --
Yellow copper ore, a sulphide of copper and iron; copper pyrites. See Chalcopyrite. --
Yellow cress (Bot.), a yellow-flowered, cruciferous plant (Barbarea præcox), sometimes grown as a salad plant. --
Yellow dock. (Bot.) See the Note under Dock. --
Yellow earth, a yellowish clay, colored by iron, sometimes used as a yellow pigment. --
Yellow fever (Med.), a malignant, contagious, febrile disease of warm climates, attended with jaundice, producing a yellow color of the skin, and with the black vomit. See Black vomit, in the Vocabulary. --
Yellow flag, the quarantine flag. See under Quarantine, and 3d Flag. --
Yellow jack.
(a) The yellow fever. See under 2d Jack.
(b) The quarantine flag. See under Quarantine. --
Yellow jacket (Zoöl.), any one of several species of American social wasps of the genus Vespa, in which the color of the body is partly bright yellow. These wasps are noted for their irritability, and for their painful stings. --
Yellow lead ore (Min.), wulfenite. --
Yellow lemur (Zoöl.), the kinkajou. --
Yellow macauco (Zoöl.), the kinkajou. --
Yellow mackerel (Zoöl.), the jurel. --
Yellow metal. Same as Muntz metal, under Metal. --
Yellow ocher (Min.), an impure, earthy variety of brown iron ore, which is used as a pigment. --
Yellow oxeye (Bot.), a yellow-flowered plant (Chrysanthemum segetum) closely related to the oxeye daisy. --
Yellow perch (Zoöl.), the common American perch. See Perch. --
Yellow pike (Zoöl.), the wall-eye. --
Yellow pine (Bot.), any of several kinds of pine; also, their yellowish and generally durable timber. Among the most common are valuable species are Pinus mitis and P. palustris of the Eastern and Southern States, and P. ponderosa and P. Arizonica of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific States. --
Yellow plover (Zoöl.), the golden plover. --
Yellow precipitate (Med. Chem.), an oxide of mercury which is thrown down as an amorphous yellow powder on adding corrosive sublimate to limewater. --
Yellow puccoon. (Bot.) Same as Orangeroot. --
Yellow rail (Zoöl.), a small American rail (Porzana Noveboracensis) in which the lower parts are dull yellow, darkest on the breast. The back is streaked with brownish yellow and with black, and spotted with white. Called also yellow crake. - -
Yellow rattle, Yellow rocket. (Bot.) See under Rattle, and Rocket. --
Yellow Sally (Zoöl.), a greenish or yellowish European stone fly of the genus Chloroperla; -- so called by anglers. --
Yellow sculpin (Zoöl.), the dragonet. --
Yellow snake (Zoöl.), a West Indian boa (Chilobothrus inornatus) common in Jamaica. It becomes from eight to ten long. The body is yellowish or yellowish green, mixed with black, and anteriorly with black lines. --
Yellow spot.
(a) (Anat.) A small yellowish spot with a central pit, the fovea centralis, in the center of the retina where vision is most accurate. See Eye.
(b) (Zoöl.) A small American butterfly (Polites Peckius) of the Skipper family. Its wings are brownish, with a large, irregular, bright yellow spot on each of the hind wings, most conspicuous beneath. Called also Peck's skipper. See Illust. under Skipper, n., 5. --
Yellow tit (Zoöl.), any one of several species of crested titmice of the genus Machlolophus, native of India. The predominating colors of the plumage are yellow and green. --
Yellow viper (Zoöl.), the fer-de-lance. --
Yellow warbler (Zoöl.), any one of several species of American warblers of the genus Dendroica in which the predominant color is yellow, especially D. æstiva, which is a very abundant and familiar species; -- called also garden warbler, golden warbler, summer yellowbird, summer warbler, and yellow-poll warbler. --
Yellow wash (Pharm.), yellow oxide of mercury suspended in water, -- a mixture prepared by adding corrosive sublimate to limewater. --
Yellow wren (Zoöl.)
(a) The European willow warbler.
(b) The European wood warbler.


© Webster 1913

Yel"low, n.


A bright golden color, reflecting more light than any other except white; the color of that part of the spectrum which is between the orange and green. "A long motley coat guarded with yellow." Shak.


A yellow pigment.

Cadmium yellow, Chrome yellow, Indigo yellow, King's yellow, etc. See under Cadmium, Chrome, etc. --
Naples yellow, a yellow amorphous pigment, used in oil, porcelain, and enamel painting, consisting of a basic lead metantimonate, obtained by fusing together tartar emetic lead nitrate, and common salt. --
Patent yellow (Old Chem.), a yellow pigment consisting essentially of a lead oxychloride; -- called also Turner's yellow.


© Webster 1913

Yel"low (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Yellowed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Yellowing.]

To make yellow; to cause to have a yellow tinge or color; to dye yellow.


© Webster 1913

Yel"low, v. i.

To become yellow or yellower.


© Webster 1913

Yel"low, a.


Cowardly; hence, dishonorable; mean; contemptible; as, he has a yellow streak.



Sensational; -- said of some newspapers, their makers, etc.; as, yellow journal, journalism, etc.



© Webster 1913

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