Why “Yellow” Can Mean “Cowardly”

Why “Yellow” Can Mean “Cowardly”

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The color of warning signals, smiley faces, rubber duckies and the Sun (at least from our perspective- in fact the Sun is white if viewed from space), for many of us yellow has a favorable connotation; yet, at various points throughout human history, yellow has decidedly been a symbolism of, alternately, heresy, jealousy, treachery, sin and gutlessness.

It’s not completely clear when yellow came to represent human weakness and immorality. In fact, during the Early Middle Ages (5th-10th centuries), yellow (as a cheaper substitute for gold) was commonly used to represent divine light in art and manuscripts, and even Jesus was…


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