Skip to content

The Most Helpful Idioms With Meaning and Examples. Topic – Colours

English idioms are the spice of language, offering a unique flavor to everyday communication. These common idioms serve as gems, each carrying a distinctive meaning beyond their literal interpretation. Let’s explore the fascinating world of idioms with an idiom example. Consider the phrase “burning the midnight oil,” depicting intense effort or working late into the night. In this idiom sample, the image of a lamp burning late symbolizes diligence and commitment. Understanding idioms with meaning is like deciphering a secret code, unlocking a deeper layer of expression. So, whether you’re “walking on eggshells” or “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” incorporating these idiomatic expressions into your language repertoire adds flair and nuance, transforming ordinary conversations into rich tapestries of communication.

black gold The term black gold refers to the black colour and high value of oil. Much of his money is invested in black gold.
black market The black market refers to the illegal buying and selling of goods or currencies. Be careful of what you buy on the black market – it’s not always good quality.
black mood To be in a black mood means to be irritable, angry or even depressed. You’d better keep away from Bill today. He’s in a black mood.
black out If you black out, you lose consciousness. When Tony saw the needle, he blacked out.
black sheep (of the family) The black sheep (of the family) is one who behaves very differently or badly, and is considered disreputable by the other members of the family. Joe was the black sheep of the family, always getting into trouble
black tie event The expression ‘black tie event’ refers to a formal event at which men are required to wear a dinner jacket, or tuxedo, and a black bow tie. I need to know if it’s going to be a casual get-together or a black tie event.
in the black To say that a person or organisation is in the black means that they are financially sound, have a positive balance on their account and that they owe no money. Don’t worry. Our club is in the black.
beaten black and blue If a person is covered with bruise marks caused by being hit, they have been beaten black and blue. The passenger was beaten black and blue by a gang of thugs.
(in) black and white To say that something is in black and white means that there is written proof of it. It’s an obligation. It’s in black and white in your contract.
blue around the gills If a person looks blue around gills, (or green, or pale) they look unwell or sick. You should sit down. You look a bit blue around the gills.
blue chip company This term refers to a company with a solid reputation for the quality of its products and the stability of its growth and earnings. It’s usually safe to invest in a blue chip company.
blue in the face If you do something until you are blue in the face, you try unsuccessfully to do something for a very long time. I explained the situation until I was blue in the face but she wouldn’t change her mind.
feel blue To feel blue means to have feelings of deep sadness or depression. I’m going to see my grandmother. She’s feeling a bit blue at the moment.
blue-eyed boy A blue-eyed boy is someone’s favourite Alex is the director’s blue-eyed boy!
once in a blue moon If something occurs once in a blue moon, it happens very rarely. Bill has very little contact with his brother. They see each other once in a blue moon.
out of the blue If something happens out of the blue, it happens very unexpectedly. I had nearly given up hope when out of the blue I was offered a job.
(scream) blue murder Someone who screams blue murder shouts or complains very loudly as if something very serious has happened. The crowd started screaming blue murder when the football match was interrupted.
brown as a berry To say that someone is as brown as a berry means that they are very tanned. Judy came back from her holiday as brown as a berry.
browned off If you are browned off, you are bored, fed up or disheartened. Tom is browned off with his job.
off colour If you are off colour, you look or feel ill. What’s the matter with Matt? He looks a bit off colour today.
see the colour of someone’s money If you want to see the colour of somebody’s money, you want to be sure that the person in question has enough money to pay you before you accept to do something. We want to see the colour of his money before shipping the goods.
show one’s true colours When a person shows their true colours, their behaviour reveals their real nature, with their qualities and/or weaknesses. In times of crisis people show their true colours.
golden handcuffs The term golden handcuffs refers to a large sum of money or a generous financial arrangement granted to an executive as an incentive to stay in their job, or to ensure long-term cooperation after their departure.  
golden handshake A golden handshake is a generous sum of money given to a person when they leave a company or retire (sometimes given to encourage early retirement).  
golden opportunity A golden opportunity is a favourable time or an excellent occasion which should not be missed. An internship in that company would be a golden opportunity for you – it might lead to a permanent job later.
golden parachute A golden parachute is a clause in an executive’s employment contract stating that the executive will receive certain large benefits if their employment is terminated.  
golden rule The most important rule or principle to be remembered when doing something is called the golden rule. When travelling abroad, the golden rule is to respect the local customs
green fingers To have green fingers means to be good at gardening. My dad was born with green fingers. He’s great with plants.
get or give the green light If you give or get the green light, you give or get a signal or authorization to do something. We’re ready to launch the campaign as soon as we get the green light.
green with envy Someone who is green with envy is a person who is very envious. Dave will be green with envy when he sees Simon’s new sports car!
grey area (US: gray) To refer to something as a grey area means that it is not clear or easy to define, and is therefore difficult to deal with. The law concerning email is still a grey area in some countries.
grey existance To have a grey existence means to lead a dull, monotonous life. I feel sad for the old lady. She seems to have such a grey existence.
grey matter Grey matter refers to the brain, or the grey colour of brain tissue. Try using your grey matter and you might find the answer. said the teacher.
pink elephants The term ‘pink elephants’ refers to hallucinations or strange imaginary things seen by people as a result of heavy drinking or the use of narcotics. No more drinks for me please, otherwise I’ll be seeing pink elephants!
in the pink of health If you are in the pink of health, you are in excellent physical condition. Caroline looks in the pink of health after her holiday.
tickled pink If you are tickled pink, you are very pleased about something. My dad was tickled pink when he was asked to announce the winner.
red carpet To roll out the red carpet, or give someone the red-carpet treatment, means to give special treatment to a visitor of importance. The management is going to roll out the red carpet for the visit of the Nobel prize winner.
red flag to a bull To say that a statement or action is like a red flag to a bull means that it is sure to make someone very angry or upset. Don’t mention Tom’s promotion to Mike. It would be like a red flag to a bull!
(caught) red-handed If a person is caught red-handed, they are caught while they are doing something wrong or illegal. The boy was caught red-handed stealing chocolate in the supermarket.
red herring A red herring is a fact or argument introduced into a discussion which draws attention away from the main point. Look, bureaucracy is a red herring. How to deal with the crisis is the important issue today.
red light district An area of a town or city where there is a concentration of sex shops, prostitution, strip clubs, etc. is known as the red light district. A photograph of the politician taken in a red-light district caused a scandal.
red tape The term red tape refers to official rules and bureaucratic paperwork that prevent things from being done quickly If there wasn’t so much red tape, the company would be up and running already.
in the red If a person or organisation is in the red, they owe money or have a negative account. I’m afraid I can’t lend you any money. I’m in the red myself.
paint the town red If you paint the town red, you go out and enjoy a lively evening in bars, night-clubs, etc. To celebrate the victory, the team’s supporters painted the town red.
see red If someone sees red, they suddenly become very angry or annoyed. Discrimination of any kind makes me see red.
silver bullet This term refers to an extremely effective or magical solution to a difficult problem. There is no silver bullet that will put an end to unemployment.
silver lining A silver lining refers to the good or pleasant side-effects of an unpleasant situation. Every cloud has a silver lining’ means that there is a positive or hopeful side to every unpleasant situation.
(born with) silver spoon in your mouth To say that someone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth means that their family is very rich and privileged. Alice never has to worry about money; she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
silver surfer A silver surferis an elderly person who uses the internet. After just a few questions my grandmother was ready to join the silver surfers.
silver-tongued A silver-tongued person is a smooth talker who speaks so convincingly that they manage to persuade others to do what they want. A silver-tongued salesman persuaded my mother to buy a new washing machine although the one she had was fine!
shrinking violet A person referred to as a shrinking violet is a timid or shy person. The witness was a shrinking violet who had difficulty expressing herself.
white Christmas A white Christmas is when it snows at Christmas and the ground is white. We haven’t had a white Christmas in twenty years.
white elephant If you call something a white elephant, you consider it useless although it may have cost a lot of money. The new cultural centre is a real white elephant. It’s so isolated that nobody goes there!
white as a ghost/ a sheet A person who is as white as a ghost (or a sheet) looks very pale and frightened. She went as white as a ghost when she saw the gun.
white lie If you tell a white lie, you say something which is not true in order to protect someone or to avoid hurting their feelings. Some parents prefer to tell their children a white lie rather than announce bad news.
yellow-bellied A person who is yellow-bellied is cowardly, or not at all brave. The bus was full of yellow-bellied passengers who disappeared when the driver was attacked by two youths.
  1. What are idioms? Idioms are expressions or phrases that hold a figurative meaning beyond their literal interpretation. They add color and depth to language.

  2. Why are idioms important in English? Idioms help convey complex ideas succinctly and vividly, enhancing communication and offering cultural insights.

  3. Can you provide some examples of idioms? Certainly! Examples include “raining cats and dogs” (heavy rain), “kick the bucket” (pass away), and “bite the bullet” (face a difficult situation).

  4. How do I understand the meaning of idioms? Understanding idioms often requires context and cultural familiarity. Exploring their origins and usage in sentences helps grasp their meanings.

  5. Are all idioms universal or do they vary by region? Idioms can vary across regions and cultures. While some idioms are universal, many are culturally specific.

  6. Are there common idioms used in everyday conversation? Yes, several idioms, like “break a leg” (good luck) or “piece of cake” (easy task), are frequently used in daily conversations.

  7. Do idioms have fixed meanings? Generally, yes. However, some idioms might have slight variations in meaning or usage based on context or region.

  8. How can I incorporate idioms into my writing or speech? Using idioms contextually and accurately can add richness to your language. Start by understanding their meanings and then applying them naturally.

  9. Are idioms only found in English? No, idioms exist in many languages. Each language has its own set of colorful expressions and phrases.

  10. Where can I learn more idioms and their meanings? Online resources, books on idioms, and even language learning platforms offer extensive lists of idioms with explanations of their meanings and origins.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *