There is a Russian idiom "yellow title" used for provocative / trolling news and articles titles. It's similar to yellow journalism but used particularly for titles.

Does this idiom exists in English language as well? Maybe there are similar idioms with same meaning?

  • 8
    Related question on ELU: What is the offline equivalent of "clickbait"
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 14:24
  • "Red tops" is a similar term to "yellow journalism" that's used in the UK. Traditionally the more sensationalist newspapers had red banners/logos - the Sun, Mirror etc.
    – Niall
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 11:56

5 Answers 5


I've seen scare headline for provocative or exaggerated titles (not necessarily scary).

In reference to the titles of online media (such as articles and videos), we have the word clickbait, which can also refer to the content itself.

An option similar to your suggestion of yellow headline is yellow-journalism headline, but it is quite rare.

  • I like the phrase "Yellow Journalism," because the use of the word "Yellow" here relates to the its same use in the phrase "Yellow Unionism".
    – user44017
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 23:53

With reference to internet only "clickbait" might be appropriate.

Wikipedia describes it as follows:

Clickbait is a pejorative term describing web content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines or eye-catching thumbnail pictures to attract click-throughs and to encourage forwarding of the material over online social networks.


Catchy headline is the expression generally used to refer to newspaper titles designed to attract readers' interest:

  • A catchy headline is extremely important to bring the reader in to view an article or advertisement. It includes words and thoughts designed to catch someone’s eye and get that person interested in reading what follows the headline.


  • 4
    Yellow journalism has a negative connotation, while catchy or eye-catching is more positive. I don't think this is a good fit.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 15:33

The phrase "Red rag to bull" has a similarly provocative meaning, see here for example. It is used quite generally, it is not specific to titles.

Used in sentences such as "The way he spoke was like waving a red rag to a bull" meaning his speech was provocative.


From @ColleenV's related answer link:

"Hook" (Think of a fisherman catching a fish) or "Come-on" (Think of a guy trying to pick up a girl in a bar)

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