Idioms The Idiom Connection




Color Idioms





Color Idioms

as black as a skillet

- very black

My hands were as black as a skillet when I finished working on the car engine.

as black as a stack of black cats

- very black

The little boy was as black as a stack of black cats after playing outside all day.

as black as a sweep

- very dirty or black (a chimney sweep cleans chimneys and becomes very black)

My friend was as black as a sweep after he finished cleaning the basement.

as black as coal

- very black

My friend's cat is as black as coal.

as black as night

- very dark and black

The old house was as black as night when we entered it.

as black as pitch

- very black

My face was as black as pitch after cleaning the stove all morning.

as black as the ace of spades

- very black

The horse in the parade was as black as the ace of spades.

as red as a cherry

- bright red

The car was as red as a cherry after its new paint job.

as red as a poppy

- bright red

The mark on my arm was as red as a poppy.

as red as a rose

- intensely red

The morning sunrise was as red as a rose.

as red as a ruby

- deep red

The office assistant was wearing lipstick that was as red as a ruby.

as red as blood

- deep red

The stain on the carpet was as red as blood.

as white as a ghost

- very pale because of fear or shock or illness

My sister became as white as a ghost when she saw the man at the window.

as white as a sheet

- very pale

I felt terrible this morning and in the mirror I looked as white as a sheet.

as white as the driven snow

- very white

The fur on the dog was as white as the driven snow.

black and blue

- bruised

My shoulder was black and blue after I fell down the stairs.

black and white

- either good or bad, either one way or the other way, oversimplified

Our boss sees everything in black and white.

black box

- an electronic device such as a flight recorder that can be removed from an aircraft as a single package

The investigators searched for a long time in order to find the black box of the airplane.

black eye

- a bruise near one's eye which makes it appear black

The man received a black eye when he bumped into the closed door.

black market

- the place where goods or money are illegally bought and sold

We sold some cigarettes on the black market during our travels.

black out

- to darken a room or building by turning off the lights

During the war, people in the cities were forced to black out their windows so nobody could see them.

black out

- to lose consciousness

The man blacked out during the parade and he had to sit down and rest.

black sheep (of a family)

- a person who is a disgrace to a family or group

The man is the black sheep in his family and has not made a success of his life.

blackball (someone)

- to exclude or ostracize someone socially, to reject someone

The businessman was blackballed in the industry because of his bad business practices.

blacklist (someone)

- to exclude or ostracize someone, to write someone's name on a list if they break some rules

The sports federation blacklisted the swimmer because he was using steroids.

blackmail (someone)

- to extort or take money from someone by threatening him or her

The photographer tried to blackmail the famous actress with some photographs that he had taken.

blackout

- a temporary situation where you do not release some information

The government decided to have a blackout regarding the political prisoner.

black-tie event/affair

- a formal event where guests wear semi-formal clothes with men wearing black bow ties with tuxedos or dinner jackets

The award ceremony for the movie awards was a black-tie affair.

blue blood

- someone from a noble or wealthy or aristocratic family

Many of the blue bloods of the town went to the opening of the opera.

blue in the face

- to be very angry or upset, to be excited and very emotional

I argued with my supervisor until I was blue in the face.

blue-ribbon

- of superior quality or distinction, the best of a group

A blue-ribbon panel of experts were asked to suggest a new policy for the city.

brown bag it

- to take a lunch to work

I must brown bag it this week because the company cafeteria is closed.

carte blanche

- the freedom or permission to do what you want (blanche means white in French)

The new manager was given carte blanche to change the policies in her department.

catch (someone) red-handed

- to catch someone in the middle of doing something wrong

The woman was caught red-handed when she tried to steal some cosmetics.

chase rainbows

- to try to get or achieve something that is difficult or impossible

My old school friend is always chasing rainbows and he never achieves anything.

dyed-in-the-wool

- permanent, always (like wool that is dyed a certain color)

My father is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and he will probably never change.

ears are red

- one's ears are red from embarrassment

My ears were red after hearing what the teacher said about me.

get gray hair

- to have one's hair turn gray from stress

Our teacher is getting gray hair from stress.

get the blues

- to become sad or depressed

The dull cloudy weather has caused me to get the blues.

get the green light

- to receive a signal to start or continue something

We got the green light to begin a study of the security problems at our school.

give (someone) the green light

- to give someone permission to proceed with a project

The city gave us the green light to begin the new project.

grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence)

- a place or situation that is far away or different seems better than one's present situation

The man believes that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and he always wants to change jobs.

a gray area

- something that is not clearly defined and does not conform to an existing set of rules, neither black or white, neither one way or another way

The issue of the tax on children's toys is a gray area for the accountant.

gray matter

- brains, intelligence

I wish that my friend would use his gray matter more effectively when he is making his crazy plans.

green

- to be inexperienced or immature

The young man is rather green and does not have enough experience to drive the large machinery.

green around the gills

- looking sick

My friend looked green around the gills after the long bus ride.

green belt

- an area of fields and trees around a town

Our city has a policy to increase the green belt around the city.

green-eyed monster

- jealousy

The woman was consumed by the green-eyed monster and it was affecting her life.

green thumb

- a talent for gardening, the ability to make things grow

My neighbor has a green thumb and she is able to grow one of the best gardens in our neighborhood.

green with envy

- to be very jealous, to be full of envy

I was green with envy when I heard that my cousin would be going to London for a week.

greenhorn

- an untrained or inexperienced or naive person

The young man is a greenhorn and he has much to learn about his new job.

have a yellow streak

- to be cowardly

The man has a yellow streak and he will not defend you if you are having a problem.

have the blues

- to be sad or depressed

The man next door seems to have the blues.

have the green light

- to have a signal to start or continue something

The company finally has the green light to start the project.

horse of a different color

- something totally separate and different

I know that our boss would like to discuss that issue now but it is a horse of a different color and we should discuss it at another time.

in black and white

- in writing, officially

I put down my complaint in black and white.

in (someone's) black books

- to be in disgrace or in disfavor with someone

The boy is in his girlfriend's black books because he was late for their date.

in the black

- to be successful or profitable

Our company has been in the black since they began to cut costs.

in the pink (of condition)

- in very good health

My grandmother was in the pink of condition when I saw her.

in the red

- to be in debt, to be unprofitable

The company has been in the red for three years now.

lend color to (something)

- to provide something extra to accompany something

The music in the play helped to lend color to the performance of the actors.

like waving a red flag in front of a bull

- what you are doing will definitely make someone angry or upset

Talking about the city mayor with my father is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. He hates the city mayor.

local color

- the traditional features of a place which give it its own character

The weekend vegetable market added much local color to the small town.

look at the world through rose-colored glasses

- to see only the good things about something, to be too optimistic

My friend always looks at the world through rose-colored glasses and he does not believe that some people are dishonest.

off-color

- in bad taste, rude

The man told an off-color joke at the party which made his wife angry.

off-color

- not the exact color

We painted our kitchen in an off-color of white.

once in a blue moon

- very rarely

We only go out for Italian food once in a blue moon although we enjoy it very much.

out of the blue

- without any warning, by surprise (like something that comes out of a blue sky)

My friend decided out of the blue to quit his job and go to Europe.

out of the red

- out of debt

Our company is finally out of the red and we are now making money.

paint the town red

- to go out and party and have a good time

When my cousin came to visit us we decided to go out and paint the town red.

pink slip

- a termination notice from a job

I received my pink slip last week and I am now looking for a new job.

pitch-black

- very black, as black as pitch

The road was pitch-black and we could not see anything.

pot calling the kettle black

- the person who criticizes or accuses someone else is as guilty as the person he or she criticizes or accuses

My friend criticized me for not changing jobs but that is like the pot calling the kettle black. She will not change jobs either.

put (something) down in black and white

- to write the details of a contract or something on paper

I asked the buyer to put the offer to buy my car down in black and white.

raise a white flag

- to indicate that you have been defeated and that you want to give up

The soldiers raised a white flag and surrendered to the enemy.

red-carpet treatment

- to receive special or royal treatment

I always receive the red-carpet treatment when I go and visit my aunt.

red-eye

- an airplane flight that leaves late at night and arrives early in the morning

We caught the red-eye flight last night and we are very tired today.

a red flag

- a signal that something is not working properly or correctly

The fallen trees along the road raised a red flag for the safety inspectors.

red herring

- an unimportant matter that draws attention away from the main subject

Talking about the other issue was a red herring that did not do anything to deal with today's problem.

red-hot

- very hot, creating much excitement or demand

The new video game is red-hot and many people are waiting to buy one.

red in the face

- embarrassed

I became red in the face when the teacher asked me a question.

red-letter day

- a day that is memorable because of some important event

It was a red-letter day when my sister received her graduation diploma.

red tape

- excessive formalities in official business

Many businesses complain about the red tape that they must deal with in order to get anything done with the government.

roll out the red carpet

- to greet a person with great respect, to give a big welcome to someone

The government rolled out the red carpet when the politician came to visit.

sail under false colors

- to pretend to be something that one is not (a pirate ship used to disguise itself as an ordinary ship by using a false flag)

The head of the company is sailing under false colors and he does not really understand how the company works.

see pink elephants

- to see things which are not really there because they are only in your imagination

The man was seeing pink elephants according to those who listened to his story.

see red

- to become very angry

My boss saw red when I told him that I would not be coming to work today.

see the color of (someone's) money

- to prove that someone has enough money for something

The car dealer would not let me take the car until he saw the color of my money.

see the world through rose-colored glasses

- to see only the good things about something, to be too optimistic

The man sees the world through rose-colored glasses and thinks that everything is wonderful.

show one`s true colors

- to show what one is really like or really thinking

I thought that the woman likes me but she showed her true colors when she began yelling at me on the telephone.

talk a blue streak

- to talk very much and very rapidly

The woman beside me on the bus talked a blue streak for most of the journey.

talk until one is blue in the face

- to talk until one is exhausted

I talked until I was blue in the face but I could not change my teacher's opinion about my essay.

tickled pink

- to be very pleased or delighted by someone or something

"My mother was tickled pink that you visited her when you were in town."

wave a white flag

- to indicate that you have been defeated and that you want to give up

The soldiers were waving a white flag when they surrendered to the enemy.

white elephant

- a useless possession (that often costs money to maintain)

The new airport is a white elephant and nobody wants to use it.

white lie

- a harmless or small lie told to be polite or to avoid hurting someone's feelings

I told my supervisor a white lie yesterday and said that I was sick when actually I was not.

white sale

- the selling of towels or sheets at a reduced price

We went to the white sale at the department store to buy some new sheets.

white-tie event/affair

- an event that requires guests to wear formal dress such as men wearing white bow ties with formal evening dress

I attended a white-tie dinner in honor of the president of our university.

whitewash (something)

- to cover up or gloss over faults or errors or wrongdoing

The government was accused of trying to whitewash the scandal about the illegal money.

with flying colors

- with great or total success

My friend passed the course with flying colors and she now wants to celebrate.

yellow-bellied

- extremely timid, cowardly

The man is yellow-bellied and is never willing to fight for what is right.

Black Idioms


as black as a skillet

- very black

My hands were as black as a skillet when I finished working on the car engine.

as black as a stack of black cats

- very black

The little boy was as black as a stack of black cats after playing outside all day.

as black as a sweep

- very dirty or black (a chimney sweep cleans chimneys and becomes very black)

My friend was as black as a sweep after he finished cleaning the basement.

as black as coal

- very black

My friend's cat is as black as coal.

as black as night

- very dark and black

The old house was as black as night when we entered it.

as black as pitch

- very black

My face was as black as pitch after cleaning the stove all morning.

as black as the ace of spades

- very black

The horse in the parade was as black as the ace of spades.

black and blue

- bruised

My shoulder was black and blue after I fell down the stairs.

black and white

- either good or bad, either one way or the other way, oversimplified

Our boss sees everything in black and white.

black box

- an electronic device such as a flight recorder that can be removed from an aircraft as a single package

The investigators searched for a long time in order to find the black box of the airplane.

black eye

- a bruise near one's eye which makes it appear black

The man received a black eye when he bumped into the closed door.

black market

- the place where goods or money are illegally bought and sold

We sold some cigarettes on the black market during our travels.

black out

- to darken a room or building by turning off the lights

During the war, people in the cities were forced to black out their windows so nobody could see them.

black out

- to lose consciousness

The man blacked out during the parade and he had to sit down and rest.

black sheep (of a family)

- a person who is a disgrace to a family or group

The man is the black sheep in his family and has not made a success of his life.

blackball (someone)

- to exclude or ostracize someone socially, to reject someone

The businessman was blackballed in the industry because of his bad business practices.

blacklist (someone)

- to exclude or ostracize someone, to write someone's name on a list if they break some rules

The sports federation blacklisted the swimmer because he was using steroids.

blackmail (someone)

- to extort or take money from someone by threatening him or her

The photographer tried to blackmail the famous actress with some photographs that he had taken.

blackout

- a temporary situation where you do not release some information

The government decided to have a blackout regarding the political prisoner.

black-tie event/affair

- a formal event where guests wear semi-formal clothes with men wearing black bow ties with tuxedos or dinner jackets

The award ceremony for the movie awards was a black-tie affair.

in black and white

- in writing, officially

I put down my complaint in black and white.

in (someone's) black books

- to be in disgrace or in disfavor with someone

The boy is in his girlfriend's black books because he was late for their date.

in the black

- to be successful or profitable

Our company has been in the black since they began to cut costs.

pitch-black

- very black, as black as pitch

The road was pitch-black and we could not see anything.

pot calling the kettle black

- the person who criticizes or accuses someone else is as guilty as the person he or she criticizes or accuses

My friend criticized me for not changing jobs but that is like the pot calling the kettle black. She will not change jobs either.

put (something) down in black and white

- to write the details of a contract or something on paper

I asked the buyer to put the offer to buy my car down in black and white.

Blue Idioms


black and blue

- bruised

My shoulder was black and blue after I fell down the stairs.

blue blood

- the blood of a noble or wealthy or aristocratic family

Many of the blue bloods of the town went to the opening of the opera.

blue in the face

- to be very angry or upset, to be excited and very emotional

I argued with my supervisor until I was blue in the face.

blue-ribbon

- of superior quality or distinction, the best of a group

A blue-ribbon panel of experts were asked to suggest a new policy for the city.

get the blues

- to become sad or depressed

The dull cloudy weather has caused me to get the blues.

have the blues

- to be sad or depressed

The man next door seems to have the blues.

out of the blue

- without any warning, by surprise (like something that comes out of a blue sky)

My friend decided out of the blue to quit his job and go to Europe.

talk a blue streak

- to talk very much and very rapidly

The woman beside me on the bus talked a blue streak for most of the journey.

talk until one is blue in the face

- to talk until one is exhausted

I talked until I was blue in the face but I could not change my teacher's opinion about my essay.

Gray Idioms


get gray hair

- to have one's hair turn gray from stress

Our teacher is getting gray hair from stress.

a gray area

- something that is not clearly defined and does not conform to an existing set of rules, neither black or white, neither one way or another way

The issue of the tax on children's toys is a gray area for the accountant.

gray matter

- brains, intelligence

I wish that my friend would use his gray matter more effectively when he is making his crazy plans.

Green Idioms


get the green light

- to receive a signal to start or continue something

We got the green light to begin a study of the security problems at our school.

give (someone) the green light

- to give someone permission to proceed with a project

The city gave us the green light to begin the new project.

grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence)

- a place or situation that is far away or different seems better than one's present situation

The man believes that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and he always wants to change jobs.

green

- to be inexperienced or immature

The young man is rather green and does not have enough experience to drive the large machinery.

green around the gills

- looking sick

My friend looked green around the gills after the long bus ride.

green belt

- an area of fields and trees around a town

Our city has a policy to increase the green belt around the city.

green-eyed monster

- jealousy

The woman was consumed by the green-eyed monster and it was affecting her life.

green thumb

- a talent for gardening, the ability to make things grow

My neighbor has a green thumb and she is able to grow one of the best gardens in our neighborhood.

green with envy

- to be very jealous, to be full of envy

I was green with envy when I heard that my cousin would be going to London for a week.

greenhorn

- an untrained or inexperienced or naive person

The young man is a greenhorn and he has much to learn about his new job.

have the green light

- to have a signal to start or continue something

The company finally has the green light to start the project.

Pink Idioms


in the pink (of condition)

- in very good health

My grandmother was in the pink of condition when I saw her.

look at the world through rose-colored glasses

- to see only the good things about something, to be too optimistic

My friend always looks at the world through rose-colored glasses and he does not believe that some people are dishonest.

pink slip

- a termination notice from a job

I received my pink slip last week and I am now looking for a new job.

see pink elephants

- to see things which are not really there because they are only in your imagination

The man was seeing pink elephants according to those who listened to his story.

see the world through rose-colored glasses

- to see only the good things about something, to be too optimistic

The man sees the world through rose-colored glasses and thinks that everything is wonderful.

tickled pink

- to be very pleased or delighted by someone or something

"My mother was tickled pink that you visited her when you were in town."

Red Idioms


as red as a cherry

- bright red

The car was as red as a cherry after its new paint job.

as red as a poppy

- bright red

The mark on my arm was as red as a poppy.

as red as a rose

- intensely red

The morning sunrise was as red as a rose.

as red as a ruby

- deep red

The office assistant was wearing lipstick that was as red as a ruby.

as red as blood

- deep red

The stain on the carpet was as red as blood.

catch (someone) red-handed

- to catch someone in the middle of doing something wrong

The woman was caught red-handed when she tried to steal some cosmetics.

ears are red

- one's ears are red from embarrassment

My ears were red after hearing what the teacher said about me.

in the red

- to be in debt, to be unprofitable

The company has been in the red for three years now.

like waving a red flag in front of a bull

- what you are doing will definitely make someone angry or upset

Talking about the city mayor with my father is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. He hates the city mayor.

out of the red

- out of debt

Our company is finally out of the red and we are now making money.

paint the town red

- to go out and party and have a good time

When my cousin came to visit us we decided to go out and paint the town red.

red-carpet treatment

- to receive special or royal treatment

I always receive the red-carpet treatment when I go and visit my aunt.

red-eye

- an airplane flight that leaves late at night and arrives early in the morning

We caught the red-eye flight last night and we are very tired today.

a red flag

- a signal that something is not working properly or correctly

The fallen trees along the road raised a red flag for the safety inspectors.

red herring

- an unimportant matter that draws attention away from the main subject

Talking about the other issue was a red herring that did not do anything to deal with today's problem.

red-hot

- very hot, creating much excitement or demand

The new video game is red-hot and many people are waiting to buy one.

red in the face

- embarrassed

I became red in the face when the teacher asked me a question.

red-letter day

- a day that is memorable because of some important event

It was a red-letter day when my sister received her graduation diploma.

red tape

- excessive formalities in official business

Many businesses complain about the red tape that they must deal with in order to get anything done with the government.

roll out the red carpet

- to greet a person with great respect, to give a big welcome to someone

The government rolled out the red carpet when the politician came to visit.

see red

- to become very angry

My boss saw red when I told him that I would not be coming to work today.

White Idioms


as white as a ghost

- very pale because of fear or shock or illness

My sister became as white as a ghost when she saw the man at the window.

as white as a sheet

- very pale

I felt terrible this morning and in the mirror I looked as white as a sheet.

as white as the driven snow

- very white

The fur on the dog was as white as the driven snow.

black and white

- either good or bad, either one way or the other way, oversimplified

Our boss sees everything in black and white.

carte blanche

- the freedom or permission to do what you want (blanche means white in French)

The new manager was given carte blanche to change the policies in her department.

in black and white

- in writing, officially

I put down my complaint in black and white.

put (something) down in black and white

- to write the details of a contract or something on paper

I asked the buyer to put the offer to buy my car down in black and white.

raise a white flag

- to indicate that you have been defeated and that you want to give up

The soldiers raised a white flag and surrendered to the enemy.

wave a white flag

- to indicate that you have been defeated and that you want to give up

The soldiers were waving a white flag when they surrendered to the enemy.

white elephant

- a useless possession (that often costs money to maintain)

The new airport is a white elephant and nobody wants to use it.

white lie

- a harmless or small lie told to be polite or to avoid hurting someone's feelings

I told my supervisor a white lie yesterday and said that I was sick when actually I was not.

white sale

- the selling of towels or sheets at a reduced price

We went to the white sale at the department store to buy some new sheets.

white-tie event/affair

- an event that requires guests to wear formal dress such as men wearing white bow ties with formal evening dress

I attended a white-tie dinner in honor of the president of our university.

whitewash (something)

- to cover up or gloss over faults or errors or wrongdoing

The government was accused of trying to whitewash the scandal about the illegal money.

Yellow Idioms


have a yellow streak

- to be cowardly

The man has a yellow streak and he will not defend you if you are having a problem.

yellow-bellied

- extremely timid, cowardly

The man is yellow-bellied and is never willing to fight for what is right.


Idiom Quizzes - Colors

    Choose an idiom to replace the expression in the brackets:

  1. The girl was (very pleased) that she was chosen to represent her class at the competition.

    (a) blacked out (b) tickled pink (c) green with envy (d) out of the blue



  2. My boss is not very flexible and he always sees things (as either good or bad).

    (a) in the red (b) off-color (c) with flying colors (d) in black and white



  3. The government finally gave the city (permission) to build the new airport.

    (a) the green light (b) a horse of a different color (c) once in a blue moon (d) red tape



  4. Our company has been (losing money) for three years now.

    (a) rolling out the red carpet (b) yellow-bellied (c) in the red (d) green



  5. It was a (memorable) day when the first person walked on the moon.

    (a) yellow-streak (b) white-elephant (c) red-herring (d) red-letter



  6. My brother passed the test to become a police officer (easily and with great success).

    (a) green (b) with flying colors (c) out of the blue (d) tickled pink



  7. Our company told us (suddenly and without any warning) that our factory would close next month.

    (a) out of the blue (b) once in a blue moon (c) with flying colors (d) pitch-black



  8. The mother (was very angry) when her daughter came home at three o`clock in the morning.

    (a) rolled out the red carpet (b) saw red (c) showed her true colors (d) looked at the world through rose-colored glasses



  9. The man argued with his wife until he was (very angry) but still she would not agree with him.

    (a) brown bagging it (b) in the black (c) blue in the face (d) a pot calling the kettle black



  10. I go to the swimming pool only (rarely) although I love to swim.

    (a) green around the gills (b) with flying colors (c) in the red (d) once in a blue moon



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