Apr 24, 2024

Eight Colour Idioms You Should Use

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Billy Hunter

Billy Hunter

What is an idiom?

An idiom is a group of words that, when used together, have a meaning that's different from the literal meanings of the individual words. Idioms are like secret codes in language, adding colour and expressiveness to what we say. That’s why we’ve decided to look at some of our favourite colour idioms so you can try using them!

Idioms With Blue

Out of the Blue

This colour idiom is used to describe something that is shocking and unexpected. This is actually shortened from ‘out of the blue sky’ and compares something unexpected with lightning or rain coming from a cloudless sky. Pretty strange right?

Feeling Blue

This colour idiom doesn't mean you look like a Smurf! It might make you think of those jolly blue folk, but really this idiom means feeling sad or emotionally distressed. It is believed to have originated in the 17th century, when the word ‘blue’ was associated with sadness in various cultures.

Idioms With Red

To Catch Red-Handed

Catching somebody red-handed means to find somebody in the middle of doing something wrong. It’s likely that this colour idiom comes from Scotland, where a murderer was identified, because he was found with his victim’s blood still on his hands – spooky!

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Does this make you think about Hollywood? This idiom means to welcome someone as a very important person or guest. The first movie premiere to have a red carpet was in 1922 – but the Ancient Greeks wrote about Kings walking on red floors all the way back in 458 BC!

Seeing Red

Does everything actually look red? Not quite! This colour idiom means to become angry, enraged, or irritated. It’s believed that this idiom comes from the red flags used by historic armies to signal a battle coming soon, although it's not clear. There’s similar idioms in French, German, and even Danish!

Idioms With Green

Give the Green Light

This colour related idiom means to give permission to start something. This one came around in the 1800s, based on the signal used by railroads to show that trains could go on. It’s also like traffic lights – green means go!

Green With Envy

This colour idiom is thought to have been created by William Shakespeare himself, who also created over 1,700 words we still use today! It means to be jealous or envious, and comes from the play Othello, where Iago warns the titular character: ‘Beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on’.

The Grass is Always Greener

Isn’t the grass always green? This idiom means that the things we don’t have seem better than the things we have. This phrase as we know it probably comes from an American folk song from the 1920s called The Grass Is Always Greener in the Other Fellow’s Yard. You can listen to it here!

Now you've learned some useful idioms with colour, do you have the itch to learn some more English? Why not consider studying one of our English Courses!

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