Why does calling someone “yellow” mean cowardly?
Before the United States’ Civil War, there were two opposing sides on the issue of slavery. As the debates between these two groups continued, agitators on both sides published anonymous pamphlets and flyers which attacked public figures. These unsigned publications, which typically contained vicious lies and rumors, were usually printed on cheap, unbleached paper that had a yellow tint. When it was learned certain newspaper editors were contributing to the publishing effort, the practice became known as “yellow journalism.” Eventually, the term “yellow” became known as a cowardly act.