vocabulary builder

vocabulary builder: colour idioms

How many idiomatic expressions do you know in Italian that contain a colour?

what about “essere verde dall’invidia, rosso di rabbia, avere il pollice verde, avere il conto in rosso, essere la pecora nera della famiglia...”

Well, also the English language makes use of colours in some idiomatic phrases…

Here is a list of some colour idioms in English grouped according to

colour… are they different or similar to the Italian language?


to be in a black mood: to be very angry

a black sheep (of the family): a person who is a disgrace or embarrassment to a family or group


to appear/happen out of the blue: to happen very suddenly and unexpectedly

a bolt from the blue: is something unexpected, very often bad news.

to look /feel blue/to have the blues: – to look / feel/to be depressed or discontented.

to get blue in the face: to try in vain to convince someone to do something

once in a blue moon: to occur extremely rarely or only once in a life-time

men in blue: the police because of the colour of their uniforms


to be green with envy: to be full of envy, very jealous

to give someone the green light: to give permission to go ahead with an idea or a project

to have a green thumb: to have a talent for gardening


to be in the red: to be in debt

to catch someone red-handed: to catch someone in the act of committing a crime, usually a theft

to see the red light: to realize something is dangerous

to paint the town red: to go out, drink heavily and have a good time

a red-letter day: a day that is memorable because of some important event

to see red: to lose control, to react with rage against someone or something


to be as white as a sheet: to be in a state of great fear

to tell a white lie: to tell a harmless lie

and also

to do something with flying colours:

to do something with distinction, with great or total success

to see someone in his true colours:

to understand someone’s true character, how he/she really is

Can you think of some more colour idioms in Italian and look up for their English equivalents?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s