Yellow is the color evoked by light that stimulates both the L and M (long and medium wavelength) cone cells of the retina about equally, but does not significantly stimulate the S (short-wavelength) cone cells; that is, light with much red and green but not very much blue. Light with a wavelength of 570–580 nm is yellow, as is light with a suitable mixture of somewhat longer and shorter wavelengths. Yellow's traditional RYB complementary color is purple, violet or indigo. Yellow's colorimetrically defined complementary color in both RGB and CMYK color spaces is blue.
IThe word yellow comes from the Old English geolu, or geolwe which derived from the Proto-Germanic word gelwaz. The oldest known usage of this word in English is in the Old English poem Beowulf, in a description of a shield made of wood from a yew tree. In the English language, yellow is used to describe objects having the color between green and orange in the visible light spectrum (gold, egg yolks, sunflowers, etc.). The color is associated with age and aging, both with people and objects (e.g. yellowed-paper). Ethnographically, the term yellow has also been used as a slang term for both oriental persons and light-skinned African-Americans. The term is associated at times with jealousy, as well as cowardliness. Lastly, it is associated resistance to militant trade unions.
"Yellow journalism" was sensationalist journalism that distorts, exaggerates, or exploits news to maximize profit. The term came from Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal American, who engaged in sensational reporting during the late 19th and early 20th century, most famously during the Spanish-American War. The term was derived from the color comic strip The Yellow Kid, which appeared in both papers.