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Color idioms in English Posted by on Aug 31, 2020 in Culture, English Language, English Vocabulary

Greetings to all readers! How has life been treating you lately? Well, if you have the blues, cheer up! For today’s post, we’ll have the golden opportunity to learn some color-related idioms. So if you’re looking for a vocabulary boost or a way to expand your cultural knowledge. So let’s paint the town red?

to be caught red-handedcatch someone while doing something wrong or illegal

  • They set up a surveillance camera in the building in order to catch the thieves red-handed.
  • The dog was caught red-handed trying to steal a piece of meat from the kitchen counter.

green thumb – to have skills with plants

  • With such a huge garden and lovely rose beds, you must really have a green thumb to live here!
  • I wish I had a green thumb, even my cactus died on me!

white lie – a harmless lie to prevent others from getting hurt

  • Who cares if I lied about being sick to avoid going to Sheila’s baby shower? It was just a white lie!
  • I had to tell Jane a white lie so she wouldn’t feel bad about her new hairstyle.

to be in the red – to be in debt

  • When the Johnson’s were in the red, they had to sell their car to pay off all debts.
  • After being two years in the red, the  company’s business is finally picking up and will soon be profitable.

to be kept in the dark (about something) – to keep a secret from someone

  • The employees were kept in the dark about the possible layoffs.
  • The police are keeping the press in the dark about the ongoing investigation.

    Color idioms in English (Photo by Artturi Mäntysaari from Pixabay)

out of the blue – to happen unexpectedly

  • The whole family was surprised when my father simply quit his job out of the blue and decided to start writing a novel.
  • The cyclist came out of blue and I nearly ran over him with my car.

to have the blues – to feel sad or depressed

  • It is normal to feel the blues during wintertime.
  • Whenever I get the blues I just treat myself to an evening in the movies to cheer up.

once in a blue moon – very rarely, almost never

  • I try to eat healthy, so I only have fast-food once in a blue moon.
  • Our family can only afford to travel abroad once in a blue moon.

black sheep – a person or family member who doesn’t fit in the group

  • Everyone thinks my sister is the black sheep in our family because she dropped out of college.
  • They started treating Jim like the black sheep just because he wasn’t into sports.

gray area – something unclear or without precise rules

  • This is a legal grey area, you’d better contact a lawyer before proceeding.
  • There is a grey area about office relationships, although dating someone in the company isn’t explicitly forbidden

green light – permission to proceed

  • We have been given the green light by the City Council to start construction.
  • The marketing department finally gave us the green light to kick off the new campaign.

red tape excessive paperwork or bureaucracy

  • Cutting through red tape could help qualified labor in the the immigration process.
  • There’s a lot of red tape to go through when it comes to getting a permit.

So, did you already know any of these expressions? Can you name any other color-related idioms? Let us know in the comment box below!

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