Senin, Februari 02, 2009

Learning English: Colour Idioms


Let's learn English again Brandanese...! This time we will discuss the colour idioms.
We have many idiomatic expressions involving the whole range of colours in English. We will have a look today at just three colours: red, white and blue. tepuktangantepuktangantepuktangan



star White Colour Idioms star

White in British culture is traditionally associated with purity and innocence. See if you can work out the meaning of the following white colour idioms word for word. Then check your understanding by reading examples of how they are used in context. Finally, check again against the explanations given.

go as white as a sheet

white coffee

a white-collar worker

tell a white lie

whiter than white

  • The news must've been bad. She went as white as a sheet when she read the telegram.
  • 'Do you want white or black coffee?' 'White please.' Well, dark brown, actually - just a dash of milk.
  • He hopes to get a white-collar job, though, with his level of education, he'll be lucky to get a blue-collar one.
  • It's OK to tell a white lie. It doesn't do any harm and it nearly always does some good.
  • She's whiter than white - the image of perfection. In her entire life she has never put a foot wrong.
ros go as white as a sheet = become extremely pale in the face

ros white coffee = coffee with milk (note: not white tea; instead: tea with milk)

ros white-collar worker = an office worker (note blue-collar = factory or physical work)

ros tell a white lie = telling a lie to avoid making someone upset

ros whiter than white = someone who is totally fair and honest


star Red Colour Idioms star

Red is often associated with anger or danger (red traffic lights). In British culture, red-haired people (redheads) are traditionally hot-tempered and high-spirited. Try to work out the meaning of these red colour idioms in the same way as before.

be in the red

see red

roll out the red carpet

paint the town red

a red-letter day

  • She's always in the red, never in the black. No overdraft would ever be big enough for her.
  • When she realised saw that no housework had been done all week, she saw red and banished us from her holiday home.
  • It'll be time to roll out the red carpet when Auntie Meg returns home. We haven't seen her for twenty years.
  • They decided they would paint the town red after winning so much money by gambling on the horses.
  • It was a red-letter day for us when we were able to move into our new holiday house - the house of our dreams.

ros be in the red = have minus amounts on one's bank account (in the black = in credit)

ros see red = lose one's temper; become suddenly angry

ros roll out the red carpet = put on a special welcome for an important person

ros paint the town red = enjoy yourself by going to bars and/or clubs

ros a red-letter day = a very happy or exciting day


star Blue Colour Idioms star


Blue is traditionally the colour of boys' clothes in British culture - pink for girls. It is also associated with loyalty and true love. Try to work out the meaning of these blue colour idioms in the same way as before.

a blue movie

out of the blue

scream blue murder

the boys in blue

a blue-eyed boy

  • Blue movies, or adult videos as they are sometimes called, are normally only available from sex shops.
  • His suggestion that we should move to Cyprus came completely out of the blue. I wasn't expecting it.
  • They started to scream blue murder when I told them they would have to work an extra half an hour on Saturday afternoons.
  • It's a criminal offence. We can't sweep it under the carpet. We should hand it over to the boys in blue.
  • He's the blue-eyed boy of skateboarding all right. He's won this competition five times.

ros a blue movie = a film with explicit adult scenes

ros out of the blue = suddenly and unexpectedly

ros scream blue murder = make a lot of fuss; shout loudly and emotionally in protest

ros the boys in blue = the uniformed police

ros a blue-eyed boy = a young man (grudgingly) admired because he is successful


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