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"It may be true that all things which are good are also something else, just as it is true that all things which are yellow produce a certain kind of vibration in the light. And it is a fact, that Ethics aims at discovering what are those other properties belonging to all things which are good. But far too many philosophers have thought that when they named those other properties they were actually defining good; that these properties, in fact, were simply not "other," but absolutely and entirely the same with goodness." --Principia Ethica (1903) by G. E. Moore

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Yellow is the color of light whose wavelength is between 565 nm and 590 nm, or is a mixture of red and green light that appears to be the same color.

In common speech yellow means lacking courage. In Western symbolism the colour yellow indicates jealousy, inconsistency, adultery, perfidy and cowardice. In France the doors of traitors used to be dubbed with yellow, and in some countries, the laws ordained that Jews must be clothed in yellow, because they betrayed Jesus, so that in medieval pictures, Judas Iscariot is arrayed in yellow. In Spain at an auto de fé, the victims wore yellow to denote heresy. Brewers Dictionary of phrase & Fable, 17th edition edited John Ayto.


Usage, symbolism, colloquial expressions

  1. Yellow is a bright cheerful color, but in the English language, yellow is associated with jaundice and cowardice. In American slang, a coward is said to have a "yellow belly." It can also mean that something is tainted, as in the expression "yellow journalism."
  2. Yellow also symbolises royalty in many other cultures, like much of South East Asia. In China, commoners were not allowed to wear yellow until modern times.
  3. In the United States in the 20th century, immigrants from China and other East Asian nations were derogatively referred to as a "Yellow peril," which probably referred to skin color.
  4. Yellow, in international political organizations, is the color for liberalists.
  5. In some countries, taxicabs are commonly yellow. This practice apparently began in New York City, where taxi owner Harry N. Allen painted his taxis yellow after learning that yellow is the color most easily seen at a distance.
  6. The Yellow Pages is the section of a phone book or online phone directory that lists business numbers by category. They are named for the color paper they are printed on in phone books to distinguish them from the regular listings.
  7. In China, a "yellow movie" is pornography; contrast "blue movie". --

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Yellow" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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