First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Yellow

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Yellow mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Yellow

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
adjective Yel"low
  1. 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." [Chaucer.]"A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought First fruits, the green ear and the yellow sheaf." [Milton.]"The line of yellow light dies fast away." [Keble.]
  2. Cowardly; hence, dishonorable; mean; contemptible; as, he has a yellow streak.(Slang)
  3. Sensational; -- said of some newspapers, their makers, etc.; as, yellow journal, journalism, etc. (Colloq)

Etymology: OE. yelow yelwe ȝelow ȝeoluw, from AS. geolu; akin to D. geel, OS. & OHG. gelo, G. gelb, Icel. gulr, Sw. gul, Dan. guul, L. helvus light bay, Gr. chlo`n young verdure, chlwro`s greenish yellow, Skr. hari tawny, yellowish. √49. Cf. Chlorine Gall a bitter liquid, Gold Yolk

noun Yel"low
  1. 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.]
  2. A yellow pigment.
verb Yel"low
To make yellow; to cause to have a yellow tinge or color; to dye yellow.
verb Yel"low
To become yellow or yellower.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Yellow color or pigment; the chromatic color resembling the hue of sunflowers or ripe lemons
  2. Turn yellow ("The pages of the book began to yellow")
  3. Easily frightened
  4. Of the color intermediate between green and orange in the color spectrum; of something resembling the color of an egg yolk
  5. Affected by jaundice which causes yellowing of skin etc
  6. Cowardly or treacherous ("the little yellow stain of treason" and "too yellow to stand and fight")
  7. Changed to a yellowish color by age ("yellowed parchment")
  8. Typical of tabloids ("yellow press")

From Middle English yelwe, yelou, from Old English ġeolu, ġeolwe, from Proto-Germanic *gelwaz, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰelh₃-wos (compare Welsh gwelw (“pale”), Latin helvus (“dull yellow”)), from *ǵʰelh₃- (“gleam, yellow”) (compare Irish geal (“white, bright”), Lithuanian žalias (“green”), Ancient Greek χλωρός (khlōrós, “light green”), Persian زر (zar, “yellow”), Sanskrit हरि (hari, “greenish-yellow”)).

The verb is from Old English ġeolwian, from the adjective.

  1. The colour of gold, butter, or a lemon; the colour obtained by mixing green and red light, or by subtracting blue from white light.
  2. (US) The intermediate light in a set of three traffic lights, the illumination of which indicates that drivers should stop short of the intersection if it is safe to do so.
  3. (snooker) One of the colour balls used in snooker, with a value of 2 points.
  4. (pocket billiards) One of two groups of object balls, or a ball from that group, as used in the principally British version of pool that makes use of unnumbered balls (the (yellow(s) and red(s)); contrast stripes and solids in the originally American version with numbered balls).
  5. (sports) A yellow card.

Notable Persons Named Yellow

Yellow Emperor is royalty. He holds the title One of Three Sovereigns, Five Emperors, and One ofThree Sovereigns. His ongoing career started in 2698.


Yellow Tanabe is a comics creator.


Yellow was born in 1855 in Wallowa River. Yellow is also known as Hemene Moxmox, Heinmot Hihhih (White Thunder, and White Lightning). He died on August 21st, 1935.


Yellow was born in 1844 in South Dakota. He died on September 1st, 1913.



Yellow is a k-pop, ballad, hip hop music, and electronic dance music model (people) and singing. She has been prominent since 2012. Yellow was given the name Kim Eun-bi on May 5th, 1993 in Seoul.


Notable Persons With the Last Name Yellow

King Mellow Yellow is a reggae and dancehall musician. He was most active from 1982 to present. King was given the name ? in Jamaica. King is also known as The Yellow Hands.


Yellow is a k-pop, ballad, hip hop music, and electronic dance music model (people) and singing. She has been prominent since 2012. Yellow was given the name Kim Eun-bi on May 5th, 1993 in Seoul.


Where is the name Yellow popular?

View popular names by state or region.

Popularity of Yellow as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Yellow as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Arizona, South Dakota, or Minnesota.

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Yellow U.S.
  White 7.20% 64.26%
  African American 0.00% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 3.03% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 83.33% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 5.30% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 0.00% 16.26%

Of Last Name Yellow

People with the last name Yellow are most frequently American Indian and Alaska Native

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Yellow

  • How Popular is the name Yellow? As a last name Yellow was the 73,464th most popular name in 2010.
  • When was the first name Yellow first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Yellow is Saturday, July 2nd, 1870.
  • How unique is the name Yellow? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Yellow. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name Yellow: Your name in reverse order is Wolley. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Lowely. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Yellow? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 264 people with the last name Yellow.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Yellow? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Yellow as their last name since less than 1 person in 1.1m people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.