Why does being cowardly= yellow?

Yellow coward? Yellow-bellied? Where does this come from?

In the pink!

  • Jinx

Yellow meaning “cowardly” was originally an American colloquialism, which the OED dates to the mid-19th century. Yellow-bellied didn’t arrive on the scene until the 1920s. Alas, there’s no indication why yellow was chosen.

Yellow-belly, applied as an epithet in regards to Mexicans is from 1842(Mathews).

Hmm… and all this time I thought it was because cowards usually piss their pants before they run away.

[ul][li] “He turned blue” means the guy is cold or[/li][li] “He is blue” means the guy is unhappy[/li][li] “He is green with envy” self-explainatory[/li][li] “He turned red” means the guy blushed or[/li][li] “He turned red” means the guy just ate a hot pepper[/li][li] “He is brown” means the guy got a good tan[/li]…:rolleyes:…

So most of the colors have therefore been taken. Of those left (orange, purple and yellow) yellow is the only one that is a prime color. So by the process of illimination a coward just has to be YELLOW :wally [/ul]

There was a thread on this in “Comments About Staff Reports”:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=83560