Coloring the Page: Yellow

Next up in our recurring color thesaurus series is YELLOW! For those who’ve missed the earlier installments, it’s based on one of my favorite writing tools — a descriptive kaleidoscope created by a gentleman who is blind but had his sight until he was 11.

Amber – brownish yellow
Apple Yellow – Normally a light to dark yellow or yellowish green
Banana Yellow – Moderate to light yellow
Bisque – Pale orange yellow to yellowish gray. Also, moderate yellowish pink.
Blond – Light yellow or light golden
Burnt Yellow – Dark brownish yellow
Butter – A moderate to rich yellow
Buttercup – Glossy yellow
Butterscotch – Golden or light brownish yellow
Canary Yellow – Bright vivid yellow
Corn Yellow – White to moderate yellow
Eggshell – A pale yellow to yellowish white
Egg Yolk Yellow – Strong yellow
Flaxen – Pale yellow
Gold or Golden – Yellowish brown
Goldenrod – Yellowish gold
Honey – Yellowish or brownish or golden
Jaundice – Yellowish gray…as in, unhealthy
Lemon – A brilliant, vivid yellow to greenish yellow
Mustard – A dark yellow to light olive brown
Sallow – Sickly yellowish in hue
Sunburst – Bright illuminating yellow
Sunflower – Brilliant yellow to strong or vivid gold
Topaz – Deep gold, leaning toward brown
Wheat – Golden yellow or white gold
Xanthous – Yellow, light brown or yellowish

Check out the posts for Red, Blue and Green too! And stop by the Bookshelf Muse - the originators of the emotion thesaurus and all sorts of other great resources.


  1. Awesome, I love these posts. I'm always trying to figure out to how make my writing more expressive and these really help :)

    1. Laura, I'm so glad! I use these all the time, so I'm happy to share the wealth.

  2. That's really cool! Who would have thought that there were so many different shades of yellow that you could describe?

    And hooray for the colour yellow! (It's my favourite!) Once, at school, we had to pick a random, mundane thing - anything - to try and speak imaginatively and creatively about; I did my speech on the colour yellow. If only I had known about all these different yellows then, I could have used them in my speech!

    Catherine :)

  3. That's a lot of descriptions for yellow.

  4. Excellent resource! Thank you.


  5. Great list! Always useful. I'd love to see what you do with the shades of white. ;-)

  6. Egg Yolk Yellow will differ depending on if you're talking about store-bought eggs, or fresh-from-the-chicken eggs. Fresh eggs have a much richer color to them, more orangy than store-bought eggs. A lot tastier too! :)

    An excellent list, Nicole!

  7. I didn't realize there were so many different yellows. :) That's awesome.

  8. Wow. So many yellows! Much better than saying yellow too.

  9. I like all the variations!
    One common theme seems to be xolors created using the template of "yellow-thing" yellow. It's fun to extend that to offbeat versions like "jaundice eyes yellow" or "husky pee in the snow yellow". The possibilities are endless. ;^)

    1. Oh my gosh, Chris, those are hilarious!! You should definitely use them in your descriptions. :)

  10. Hi Nicole, first time visitor and great to meet you! I do love the color yellow, so thanks for the post. The world would be a sorrowful place without yellow. Which means we would also have no orange.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Stephen! You're right - the world would be pretty dull if we didn't have yellow or really any of the colors.