28th July ’17: Yellow etymology

Welcome to Friday 🙂🐤🌼🍋

It may be no surprise to hear that I love words. I particularly love their origins and trying to guess what time and place they hail from. My second-in-command and I sometimes play a game of ‘What’s the prefix/suffix?’ (it’s all fun and games at Colour File HQ, you know). I was thinking about word origins as I looked through my yellow pictures for today. I thought of my Welsh grandmother (mamgu) and how, at no more than three years old, I’d grill her about what the colours were in Welsh. I remember some of them to this day. In fact, whenever I say ‘yellow’, my brain immediately thinks ‘melyn’, too. Being a big fan of the word ‘ameliorate’, which means to make better/sweeten, like honey, I wondered whether melyn might have similar origins. Turns out it does (as do its word ‘relatives’ in Breton and Cornish). Love it. Interestingly, the English for yellow comes from ‘gold’ but also ‘to cry out’. I guess that as well as being honey-coloured, yellow can be quite loud, too. Welcome to my geeky world, folks. Have a sweet day.

Martha, The Colour File x

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