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a yellow streak

Meaning: If someone has a yellow streak, they can sometimes act in a cowardly way and not be very brave.

For example:

  • Some people say Jimmy's got a yellow streak a mile wide, but I've never seen anything in him except courage and bravery.

  • Monty says he likes his yellow streak because it keeps him out of trouble. He never gets into fights or has accidents because he's so scared of getting hurt.

Origin: Related to the fact that in European culture the colour yellow has traditionally been associated with cowardice or a lack of bravery. You can see this derivation in other words such as "yellow-bellied", or just "yellow", both of which mean cowardly.

Quick Quiz:

You can see Bob's yellow streak when another player is running straight at him and Bob
  1. faces him without flinching
  2. braces himself for the impact
  3. tries to get out of the way

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