Idioms and phrases in English with colors

Idioms and phrases in English with colors

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A blue-eyed boy A critical description of a boy or young man who is always chosen for special favours by someone in a position of superior authority.
A bolt from the blue When unexpected bad news is received
A golden handshake A significant amount of money that is paid to a retiring manager or administrator, or to a laid-off worker.
A golden opportunity An opportunity that may never come up again.
A grey area Something that is not clearly defined, and there is still a debate about whether it is “black or white” in one way or another.
A highly coloured report Refers to a report that is exaggerated or has a biased opinion.
A red flag A signal indicating that something is not working properly or is not working properly
A white lie A “small” lie or a “harmless” lie told in order to be polite and avoid hurting someone’s feelings, or doing something that is not seriously wrong.
A yellow streak Someone who has cowardice in his character
As white as a sheet When someone is in a state of great fear or anxiety
Beet red Also used to describe dark red, usually the colour of a face (beet derivative).
Black and blue Used to describe something that is seriously wounded
Black as a skillet Used to describe something very dirty, black with dirt.
Black as night In a very dark place, when it is difficult to see anything.
Black eye A bruise near the eye
Black market A term used to refer to places where goods are purchased and sold illegally for profit.
Black out This means either obscuring by turning off or obscuring the lights or losing consciousness.
Black sheep Used to describe a person who is the “weird person” in a group, and who does not integrate with others around her. It could also be used to talk about a person who is a shame or embarrassment to his or her group.
Black tie event/affair A formal event where male guests wear black bow ties with tuxedos or evening jackets.
Blackball someone Exclude or ostracize someone socially, reject them.
Blacklist someone Put someone’s name on a list if they break rules and prohibit them from participating again.
Blackmail someone Extorting or taking money from someone by using their secrets against them and threatening to reveal them to others.
Blood red Used to describe the dark red color of something
Blue blood Used to describe someone from a noble, aristocratic or rich family.
Blue collar Used to describe men used as workers or factory workers.
Blue in the face Try very hard to win someone’s agreement, but usually without success.
Blue pencil To censor something, or limit the information that is shared
Blue ribbon To be of superior quality or distinction, the best of a group
Born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth born into a rich family
Browned off Being bored or bored with someone or something
Catch someone red-handed Catching someone committing a crime or doing something wrong that they shouldn’t be doing.
Chase rainbows When someone tries to get or achieve something that is difficult or impossible
Dyed-in-the-wool Used to describe someone or something that is permanent (such as wool that is dyed a certain color).
Feel blue When a person seems or feels depressed or dissatisfied
Golden boy Term given to a young man idolized for great skill, usually in sport.
Grass is always greener on the other side Used to describe a distant place, and better than, where you are now, or the situation of another person who is very different from yours.
Green belt An area of fields and trees around a city
Green thumb/green finger Used to describe someone with a talent for gardening, with the ability to grow plants.
Green with envy Used to describe someone who is extremely jealous, full of envy
In someone’s black books To be in disgrace or disgrace with someone.
In the black Meaning successful or profitable
Local colour Allows to describe the traditional characteristics of a place that give it its own character.
Men/boys in blue Used to describe the police, because of the color of their uniforms.
Off colour When someone is not feeling at his best, is very sick or uncomfortable
Once in a blue moon Occur extremely rarely, or only once in a lifetime.
Out of the blue Appearing out of nowhere without any warning, occurring suddenly or randomly by surprise
Paint the town red To go out and have a good time at a party.
Pitch black Another term for somewhere that is very dark, and you are unable to see anything.
Pot calling the kettle black (shorten version: pot kettle black) It is used when the person who hypocritically criticizes or accuses someone else is as guilty as the person he or she is criticizing or accusing.
Put something down in black and white Write or have written something on paper for confirmation or proof.
Raise a white flag This indicates that we have accepted the defeat and surrendered to the other party.
Red herring An unimportant subject that misleads everyone and distracts attention from the main subject.
Red hot Something new and exciting, creating a lot of demand
Red in the face Become embarrassed
Red tape A term used to refer to bureaucratic delays, excessive formalities and attention to rules and regulations, which often result in injustice to the ordinary citizen.
Red-carpet treatment (Similar to the one above) To receive special or royal treatment, and to be received with a great and warm welcome.
Red-eye A trip that leaves late at night and arrives early in the morning.
Red-letter day A memorable day due to an important event
Roll out the red carpet Welcome a person with great respect and give them a warm and welcoming welcome.
Sail under false colours Pretend to be something you’re not
See someone’s true colours Understand a person’s real character, often for the first time.
See the colour of someone’s money To prove that someone has enough money for something
Talk a blue streak When someone talks a lot and very quickly
The silver screen A term for cinema
To be colourless Used to describe someone who lacks personality, and who is really boring
To be given something on a silver plate/platter When something is offered to someone with all my heart (in a metaphorical sense)
To be green Used to describe someone who is immature or inexperienced.
To be in the red To have an overdraft, be in debt to your bank or owe money to a financial institution
To be kept in the dark Keeping someone’s secret, protecting the truth
To be out of the red To be free from debt
To be shown the red card This stems from football terminology, and means being fired from your work.
To give/lend colour to To help make a story or explanation more credible and easier to believe, or to accompany something
To look through rose-coloured/tinted spectacles/glasses When someone sees things in a way that is too flattering or optimistic.
To paint in bright/dark colours Describe something flattering (bright) or unflattering (dark)
To see red Reacting with uncontrollable rage against someone or something
To see the red light Recognize the approaching danger. The red light is referred to as
To show one’s true colours Reveal your true nature
White as a ghost someone who is very pale because of pain, fear, shock or disease.
White collar A term used to refer to office workers who traditionally wear a white white-collar shirt.
White elephant A term used to describe unnecessary possession, something that is useless.
Whitewash something To conceal or conceal wrongdoing or wrongdoing
With flying colours Complete something with a lot of distinction and excellent results.
Yellow-bellied Someone who is considered a coward or extremely shy



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