yellow journalism


a color like that of egg yolk, ripe lemons, etc.; the primary color between green and orange in the visible spectrum, an effect of light with a wavelength between 570 and 590 nm.
the yolk of an egg.
a yellow pigment or dye.
Informal. yellow light.
Slang. yellow jacket ( def 2 ).
adjective, yellower, yellowest.
of the color yellow.
Often Offensive.
designating or pertaining to an Oriental person or Oriental peoples.
designating or pertaining to a person of mixed racial origin, especially of black and white heritage, whose skin is yellowish or yellowish brown.
having a sallow or yellowish complexion.
Informal. cowardly.
(of a newspaper, book, etc.) featuring articles, pictures, or other content that is sensational, especially morbidly or offensively so: yellow rags; yellow biographies.
dishonest in editorial comment and the presentation of news, especially in sacrificing truth for sensationalism, as in yellow journalism; yellow press.
jealous; envious.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to make or become yellow: Yellow the sheets with dye. The white stationery had yellowed with age.

before 900; 1895–1900 for def 9; Middle English yelou (adj. and noun), Old English geolo, geolu (adj.); cognate with Dutch geel, German gelb, Latin helvus pale-yellow; akin to Old Norse gulr

yellowly, adverb
yellowness, noun

9. craven, timorous, fearful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
yellow (ˈjɛləʊ)
1.  any of a group of colours that vary in saturation but have the same hue. They lie in the approximate wavelength range 585--575 nanometres. Yellow is the complementary colour of blue and with cyan and magenta forms a set of primary coloursRelated: xanthous
2.  a pigment or dye of or producing these colours
3.  yellow cloth or clothing: dressed in yellow
4.  the yolk of an egg
5.  a yellow ball in snooker, etc
6.  any of a group of pieridine butterflies the males of which have yellow or yellowish wings, esp the clouded yellows (Colias spp.) and the brimstone
7.  of the colour yellow
8.  yellowish in colour or having parts or marks that are yellowish: yellow jasmine
9.  having a yellowish skin; Mongoloid
10.  informal cowardly or afraid
11.  offensively sensational, as a cheap newspaper (esp in the phrase yellow press)
12.  to make or become yellow
Related: xanthous
[Old English geolu; related to Old Saxon, Old High German gelo, Old Norse gulr, Latin helvus]

yellow journalism
the type of journalism that relies on sensationalism and lurid exaggeration to attract readers
[C19: perhaps shortened from the phrase Yellow Kid journalism, referring to the Yellow Kid, a cartoon (1895) in the New York World, a newspaper having a reputation for sensationalism]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. geolu, geolwe, from P.Gmc. *gelwaz (cf. O.S., O.H.G. gelo, M.Du. ghele, Du. geel, M.H.G. gel, Ger. gelb, O.N. gulr, Swed. gul "yellow"), from PIE *ghel-/*ghol- "yellow, green" (see Chloe). The verb meaning "to become yellow" is O.E. geoluwian. Adj. meaning "light-skinned"
(of blacks) first recorded 1808. Applied to Asiatics since 1787, though the first recorded reference is to Turkish words for inhabitants of India. Yellow peril translates Ger. die gelbe gefahr. Sense of "cowardly" is 1856, of unknown origin; the color was traditionally associated rather with treachery. Yellow-bellied "cowardly" is from 1924, probably a rhyming reduplication of yellow; earlier yellow-belly was a sailor's name for a half-caste (1867) and a Texas term for Mexican soldiers (1842, based on the color of their uniforms). Yellow dog "mongrel" is attested from c.1770; slang sense of "contemptible person" first recorded 1881.

yellow journalism
"sensational chauvinism in the media," 1898, Amer.Eng. from newspaper agitation for war with Spain; originally "publicity stunt use of colored ink" (1895) in ref. to the popular Yellow Kid"character (his clothes were yellow) in Richard Outcault's comic strip "Shantytown" in the "New York World."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

yellow journalism definition

Inflammatory, irresponsible reporting by newspapers. The phrase arose during the 1890s, when some American newspapers, particularly those run by William Randolph Hearst, worked to incite hatred of Spain, thereby contributing to the start of the Spanish-American War. Newspapers that practice yellow journalism are called yellow press.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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