The following are common idioms that contain color words. Review them and memorize any that are unfamiliar to you. Try using them when you speak to others!
1. once in a blue moon: This means rarely Example: I only get to visit my relatives in California once in a blue moon.
2. to feel blue: This means to be sad Example: Whenever you leave, I always feel blue.
3. green with envy: This means jealous Example: When Mary got a new bike, John was green with envy.
4. black and white: This refers to something clear and obvious, as in something in print Example: There is no question about who is right or wrong; it’s black and white to me. Example: The newspaper has a story about the robbery; look right here, it’s in black in white.
5. grey, grey area: This means something that is not clear, vague, a situation that is neither right nor wrong Example: Because he couldn’t tell us clearly what he did last night, it was still a greyarea for me.
6. out of the blue: This means unexpectedly or suddenly. Example: My cousin called me one night out of the blue.
7. black tie: This refers to a formal event. Example: The reception for the President was a black tie event.
8. black and blue: This is what we call a bruise. Example: I have a big black and blue mark on my arm from where I was hit by the baseball.
9. black out: This means to lose consciousness (When pronouncing this, stress both words) Example: That strong punch made the boxer black out.
10. blackout: This refers to a power outage (When pronouncing this one, place the stress on the first word) Example: During the storm we had a blackout that lasted for one hour.
11. in the black: This means a profit. Example: My new company is finally making a profit. It took us two years to be in theblack.
12. red-handed: to be caught in the act of doing something Example: When the police arrived, they caught the thief red-handed.
13. have a green thumb: This means to be able to make plants grow well Example: Mary’s garden looks so beautiful; she has such a green thumb!
14. white-collar worker: This refers to a well-education person, possibly in management Example: Most of the people who live in this neighborhood are white collar workers.
15. blue-collar worker: This refers to a laborer or someone who works with their hands. Example: Construction workers are considered blue-collar workers.
16. brown out: A brown out refers to when the lights dim and there was a partial loss of electricity Example: We didn’t lose power completely during the storm; it was just a brown out.
17. like white on rice: This is an expression to mean very closely Example: I’m going to stand so close to him, it will be like white on rice.
18. blackmail: This means to use negative information about someone as a way to control them. Example: The criminal blackmailed the executive by threatening to tell the CEO about his gambling debts.
19. black sheep: This refers to an outcast, especially a person in a family or an organization Example: Because John is always getting into trouble, his parents consider him the black sheep of the family.
20. to be tickled pink: This means to be very happy about something Example: I was tickled pink when my daughter was accepted at Purdue University.