Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Idioms - Colors


There are so many idioms in the English language, we use them frequently to express ourselves and I like to encourage my ESL students to practice them so that they feel confident when using such expressions. Lets take a look at some common expressions using color.

Blue - I feel blue today . (Sad)
Blue blood - His family has a lot of money, in fact he's a bit of a blue blood. (Royal or Old lineage)
Blue collar workers - The union needs to protect the rights of blue collar workers. (Laborers or manual workers)
Once in a blue moon - We rarely go out to eat, once in a blue moon in fact.
( Rare occurrence)

Out of the blue - "Then out of the blue she told me that she was moving to Canada!" (Unexpected)

Black humor - Some comedians go too far with their jokes and their black humor offends some people. ( Making humor out of sinister or sensitive subjects, for example death.)
Black sheep - Joe is the black sheep of the family. (The person in the family who is seen as a failure, or not fitting in with the family's beliefs and expectations.)
In the black - Thank goodness we paid off our debts and we are finally in the black.( To be in credit financially.)
Black tie event - We have been invited to a black tie event so we have to dress up! (To dress formally - normally the men wear ties and the women wear dresses.)

Gray matter - The teacher told the students to use their gray matter! (Brains)
Gray area - The rules are not clear to me, there seems to be a lot of gray area. ( An unclear situation, or area regarding what is correct or not.)

Green thumb - Joy grows the most incredible roses, she has such a green thumb! ( A gift for growing plants.)
Green light - I was overjoyed when I got the green light from my boss to start on my new project. (Given permission to do or start something.)
Green-eyed monster - You had better be careful around Dave, his girlfriend Sally has a bit of the green- eyed monster! ( to show envy or jealousy.)

To be tickled pink - I was tickled pink to hear about your new baby. ( Happy and excited about something.)

In the red - I spent too much money this week and now my bank account is in the red. (To be in debt.)
Red-handed - I caught the thief red-handed stealing my money. (To be caught in the act of wrong doing.)
Red carpet - They are are a rich and famous couple and always receive the red carpet treatment wherever they go. ( Special and preferential treatment.)
To see red- I was so angry with him, I just saw red and screamed at him. (To be very angry.)

White collar worker- My father is a white collar worker and works in the city. (Management level worker, office worker.)
White as a sheet - I was so shocked when I found out I was adopted that I went as white as a sheet! ( To show shock and surprise.)
White lie - I told her a little white lie about her new dress. I said it looked nice , but in fact it was hideous, I didn't want to hurt her feelings though. ( A small lie to save someone's feelings.)

For more idioms click here.

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