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Idiomatic Expressions
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Color Idioms




Example Sentence

beet red

dark red (usually to describe face)

My sister's face turned beet red when I caught her singing in front of a mirror.

black and blue

bruised and beaten

We found the poor guy black and blue near the train tracks.

black and white

straight forward, very clear

The rules we gave the kids were black and white. No answering the phone or the door.

black out


I always black out at the sight of blood.

black sheep

the odd or bad member of the group

My oldest brother was the black sheep in our family. He dropped out of school at fifteen.

born with a silver spoon in one's mouth

born into a rich family

Keiko hasn't worked a day in her life. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.

catch red handed

catch someone in the act of doing something wrong or illegal

The kids were caught red handed stealing chocolate bars.

golden opportunity

the perfect chance

The models' conference was a golden opportunity for me to sell my beauty products.

grass is always greener on the other side

you always want what you don't have

I always wanted to go to university, but now I wish I had time to get a job. Grass is always greener on the other side.

grey area, gray area

something without a clear rule or answer

Writing personal email in the office is a grey area that needs to be discussed at the next meeting.

the green light


The builders were given the green light to begin the tower.

green with envy

very jealous

I am green with envy over Julio's new wardrobe.

(have a) green thumb

be skillful in the garden

You can tell by her flower garden that Sheila has a green thumb.

have the blues

be sad or depressed

I always have the the blues during the winter time.

in the dark


Antoine left his wife in the dark about their honeymoon destination until they got to the airport.

in the red

in debt

When we were in the red we almost had to sell the house.

once in a blue moon

very rarely

We only go out for dinner once in a blue moon.

out of the blue


I got a phone call from a long lost cousin out of the blue last week.

red tape

official or bureaucratic tasks

There is still some red tape to deal with in terms of the inheritance.

red eye

an airplane flight that takes off after midnight

I caught the red eye so that I would see the sunrise over the mountains.

roll out the red carpet

treat someone like royalty

When relatives come to town my grandmother rolls out the red carpet.

rose coloured glasses

unrealistic view

Paula imagines Hollywood with rose coloured glasses.

see red

be very angry

I saw red when that guy grabbed my sister's purse.

tickled pink

very pleased and appreciative

My mom was tickled pink when my father brought roses home for her.

true colours

real self

Suzanne doesn't show her true colours when we have guests over.

white lie

an innocent lie to protect another person's feelings

We told Grandma that her cake was delicious, which was actually a white lie.

with flying colours

with distinction

I passed my road test with flying colours.