Skip to Content

Color Idioms: Understanding Common Phrases with Colorful Meanings

Sharing is caring!

Are you tired of using the same old phrases to express yourself? Are you looking for a way to add some color to your language? Look no further than color idioms! These expressions use colors to convey a variety of meanings, from jealousy to opportunity. By incorporating them into your vocabulary, you can spice up your conversations and make a lasting impression on those around you.

Common Color Idioms

Color idioms are a fun way to spice up your English language skills. In this section, we will explore some of the most common color idioms that you can use in your everyday conversations.

Red Idioms

Red is often associated with strong emotions, such as anger, passion, and excitement. Here are some common red idioms:

  • Caught red-handed: caught in the act of doing something wrong
  • Red tape: bureaucratic procedures that cause delay
  • In the red: having financial losses
  • Red flag: a warning sign

Blue Idioms

Blue is often associated with sadness or feeling down. Here are some common blue idioms:

  • Feeling blue: feeling sad or depressed
  • Out of the blue: unexpected or sudden
  • Blue blood: a person of noble birth or high social status

Green Idioms

Green is often associated with nature, growth, and envy. Here are some common green idioms:

  • Green with envy: feeling jealous or envious
  • Green thumb: a talent for gardening

Color Idioms

Yellow Idioms

Yellow is often associated with happiness, optimism, and cowardice. Here are some common yellow idioms:

  • Yellow-bellied: cowardly or easily scared
  • Mellow yellow: a relaxed or easy-going attitude

Black Idioms

Black is often associated with darkness, negativity, and mystery. Here are some common black idioms:

  • Black sheep: a person who is the odd one out in a family or group
  • Black market: illegal trade of goods or services
  • Black and white: clear and definite
Related  A Complete List of 500 Popular Idioms with Definition & Examples

White Idioms

White is often associated with purity, innocence, and peace. Here are some common white idioms:

  • White lie: a small lie that is told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings
  • White elephant: a possession that is unwanted or difficult to maintain

Incorporating color idioms into your everyday conversations can make your language skills more colorful and expressive. Try using some of these idioms in your next conversation and see how they can enhance your communication.

Color Idioms List with Meaning & Examples

To see red 

  • Meaning: Very angry
  • Example: Sarah was seeing red when her computer suddenly crashed.

We probably use red to describe anger because people’s faces turn red when they are angry. Imagine you became so angry your eyes became red, too. Then you might begin to “see red.”

Green with envy

  • Meaning: Wanting something someone else has
  • Example: When John brought home his expensive car, his neighbor Tom was green with envy.

I’m not sure why people are green when they are envious, but this is a very common saying.

To feel blue

  • Meaning: Sad
  • Example: After Julian’s boyfriend left her, she felt blue and cried all the time.

You can also “be blue.”


  • Meaning: Coward, not brave
  • Example: He was a yellow-bellied cowboy. He always ran away from a fight.

Belly means stomach. If your belly is yellow, you are not brave. This idiom isn’t used as much nowadays as it was in the past.

Tickled pink

  • Meaning: Very happy
  • Example: David asked Mary to marry him. He was tickled pink when she said yes.

When someone is tickled, he feels very excited and happy. Perhaps your skin becomes pink when you feel happy.

Related  Have Bigger Fish to Fry | Definition, Origin & Useful Examples

Golden opportunity

  • Meaning: The perfect chance
  • Example: Instead, it is underedited and overpriced: the publishers missed a golden opportunity.

Black sheep

  • Meaning: A person who is a disgrace to a family or group
  • Example: John is the black sheep in our family. He almost ended up in jail a few times when we were younger.

Beet red

  • Meaning: dark red (usually to describe face)
  • Example: Anna went beet red when her crush came up and talked to her.

Black out

  • Meaning: faint
  • Example: You have to black out all the windows to develop films.

Interpreting Color Idioms

Color idioms are a fun and interesting part of the English language. They add color and personality to our conversations and writing. However, understanding the meaning of color idioms can be challenging, especially for non-native speakers. In this section, we will explore how to interpret color idioms effectively.

Cultural Context

Cultural context plays a significant role in interpreting color idioms. Different cultures associate different meanings with colors. For example, in Western cultures, the color white is associated with purity, innocence, and peace. However, in some Asian cultures, white is associated with death and mourning. Therefore, when interpreting color idioms, it is essential to consider the cultural context.

Situational Context

The situational context is another critical factor in interpreting color idioms. The meaning of a color idiom can change depending on the situation. For example, the idiom “to see red” generally means to become angry. However, in the context of a traffic light, seeing red means to stop. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the situational context when interpreting color idioms.

Related  Sports Idioms | Top 30 Most Popular Sports Idioms in English

To help you interpret color idioms effectively, here are some tips:

  • Look for clues in the context of the conversation or text.
  • Consider the cultural context and the situational context.
  • Try to understand the literal meaning of the colors used in the idiom.
  • Use your intuition and common sense to interpret the idiom.

By following these tips, you can interpret color idioms more accurately and avoid misunderstandings. Remember, understanding idioms is a gradual process, so be patient with yourself and keep practicing.

In conclusion, interpreting color idioms requires careful consideration of the cultural and situational context. By following the tips outlined above, you can become more proficient in interpreting color idioms and enhance your communication skills in English.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to ‘see red’?

If you ‘see red’, it means you are very angry or furious.

What is the meaning of ‘black sheep’?

The idiom ‘black sheep’ refers to a person who is considered a disgrace to a family or group.

What does it mean to be ‘green with envy’?

To be ‘green with envy’ means to be very jealous or envious of someone or something.

What is the idiom for ‘feeling blue’?

When you are ‘feeling blue’, it means you are sad or depressed.

What does ‘paint the town red’ mean?

‘Paint the town red’ means to go out and have a wild and exciting time, usually at night.

What is the meaning of ‘purple patch’?

The idiom ‘purple patch’ refers to a period of time when everything is going well and everything seems to be perfect.

English Study Online

Mentalz Krom

Wednesday 5th of July 2023

Thanks allot, it's been helpful to me


Thursday 27th of May 2021