Could someone help me? What's the difference between yellowy and yellowish? And are there any dictionaries or researches which can prove that?


There's much overlap in the meaning of the two, and some may consider them interchangeable. However to me, I would interpret "yellowish" as "kind of (or somewhat) yellow", and "yellowy" as "partly or mostly yellow in colouration/hue".

Take a look at entry #2 for "-ish" in the link below.



I looked at the dictionaries, and they are no help here. The two suffixes really do sort of mean the same thing. The difference lies in usage, I would say, and I don't think you will find documentation on that apart from this post and others like it. I am an American native.

"Yellowy" is much rarer than "yellowish". You would need a reason to use "yellowy". For example, grass green is yellowish, somewhat yellow in color, as opposed to turquoise green, which is bluish. Grass green is not yellowy. But a sunrise might be yellowy if it had all yellow tones without being what you would have to simply call yellow. It would not be yellowish.

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 teechr's reply was promoted to an answer.

The meaning is similar: having a color that is in some way related to the standard color yellow. They are essentially interchangeable, but "yellowy" has a slightly humorous or ironic tone.

He's got yellowish teeth from drinking so much coffee every day. (If you said instead "yellowy teeth," it would imply that you think it's icky.)

The pages of this book have become yellowish with age. ("Yellowy with age" would imply that you think change is funny, or you don't think much of the book.)

People actually like it when ivory piano keys turn yellowish. ("Turn yellowy" would imply that you don't like pianos, because maybe you had lessons as a child and hated them.)

What's that yellowish stuff you're putting in the cake batter? ("Yellowy stuff" would imply that you think it's funny or disgusting.)

His paintings tend to have a kind of yellowish background. ("Yellowy background" would imply that you don't think much of his art.)