"morbid condition characterized by yellowish skin and eyes (caused by bile pigments in the blood)," c. 1300, jaunis, from Old French jaunice, earlier jalnice, "yellowness" (12c.), from jaune/jalne "yellow," from Latin galbinus "greenish yellow" (also source of Italian giallo), extended form of galbus, which probably is from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives denoting "green" and "yellow." With unetymological -d- (compare sound (n.1)).
Figurative meaning "feeling in which views are colored or distorted" first recorded 1620s, from yellow's association with bitterness and envy (see yellow (adj.)). In Old English geolu adl "yellow sickness;" in Middle English also gulesought.