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Idioms with colours

There are lots of idioms with colours both in English and in Spanish. Here are some of the best-known ones:

English-Spanish

to give sb a black look - mirar a alguien con cara de enfado
in black and white - por escrito
to be in the black - tener saldo en la cuenta bancaria, no estar en números rojos
the pot calling the kettle black - mira quien va a hablar
to be between the devil and the deep blue sea - estar entre la espada y la pared
out of the blue - inesperadamente
a bolt from the blue - de repente, de pronto
to feel blue - estar triste, melancólico
once in a blue moon - de higos a brevas
blue-collar worker - obrero manual, en una fábrica, etc.
to be in a brown study - estar ensimismado, pensativo
the golden mean - el término medio
green with envy - muerto de envidia
to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs - matar la gallina de los huevos de oro
to have green fingers (BrE)/a green thumb (AmE) - ser un buen jardinero, darse bien la jardinería
to get/give the green light - obtener/dar luz verde
to be in the pink - rebosar salud
to see pink elephants - ver visiones (por culpa de la bebida)
to paint the town red - echar una canita al aire
to catch sb red-handed - pillar a alguien con las manos en la masa
a red herring - una pista falsa
a red-letter day - un día señalado/especial
red tape - papeleo
to see red - enfurecerse
to roll out the red carpet for sb - recibir a alguien con todos los honores
a white lie - una mentira piadosa
a white-collar worker - un oficinista
a white elephant - algo muy costoso y que no sirve prácticamente para nada

Spanish-English

más colorado que un tomate - as red as a beetroot
saber más que los ratones colorados (reg.) - to know a thing or two
blanco como la pared - as white as a sheet
de punta en blanco - dressed up (to the nines)
no parecerse a alguien ni en el blanco de los ojos - to be as different as chalk and cheese
poner los ojos en blanco - to roll one's eyes
pasar de castaño oscuro - to be beyond a joke
tener sangre azul - to have blue blood in one's veins
pasarlas moradas - to have the hell of a time
ponerle a alguien un ojo morado - to give sb a black eye
ponerse morado - to stuff oneself with food
estar en la lista negra de alguien - to be in sb's black books
ser la oveja negra - to be the black sheep
negro como la boca del lobo - pitch-dark
poner negro a alguien - to drive sb crazy/mad, to make sb cross
verse negro (para hacer algo) - to have a hard time (doing sth)
estar en números rojos - to be in the red
ser el farolillo rojo - to hold the wooden spoon
estar verde - to be green, to be wet behind the ears
poner verde a alguien - to tear sb off a strip, to run sb down
ser un viejo verde - to be a dirty old man
un chiste/un libro/una película etc. verde - a blue joke/book/film, etc

EXERCISE  1

Fill in the gaps with the right colour

1.- I see ........... whenever I see animals being ill-treated.
2.- They rolled out the ...........carpet for their important visitor.
3.- Things are looking up. I've paid off all my debts and I'm in the ........again.
4.- She blushes whenever someboby tells a .........joke.
5.- He won't give you the ........light for the project untill you get the money.
6.- After having a few drinks, they were ready to paint the town .......
7.-  The detective could not solve the mystery because he was following a ......herring.
8.- She's .......with envy.

EXERCISE 2

Multiple choice

1.- My mother was operated on last month, but she's in the ........again.
a) red; b) pink; 3) white; 4) blue

2.- The teacher knows Tom cheated in the exam. Now Tom is in the teacher's.........
a) black books; b) black notebook; c) black spot; 4) red book

3.- I'll never forget the day I met my wife. It will always be a ...... -letter day for me.
a) white; b) blue; c) pink; d) red

4.- We were very good friends when we were at school, but now I see her only once in a ...........
a) white winter; b) red sunset; c) blue moon; d) black year

5.- It was a difficult situation and I didn't know what to do. I was caught between the .........
a) day and the night; b) sword and the wall; c) devil and the deep blue sea; d) chair and the table

6.- They're as different as ............
a) chalk and cheese; b) day and night; c) night and day; d) wine and water

EXERCISE 3

Complete the sentences with an adequate idiom:

1.- You just can't imagine the amount of ......involved if you want to import a car into Britain.
2.- The bank manager told me there's no money in my current account. I am ...........again.
3.- She's very good at gardening. She's got..............
4.- She was so pleased with her new hair-style that I certainly couldn't say she looked dreadful, so I told her a.............
5.- The piece of furniture my grandmother gave us for Christmas is really a ......... We don't know where to put it, or what to do with it.
6.- I wasn't expecting to see him again, but he turned up ..........

EXERCISE 4

Join the numbers with the letters:

1.- Pasar de castaño oscuro.
2.- Ser un viejo verde.
3.- Negro como la boca del lobo.
4.- Poner verde a alguien.
5.- Ponerse morado.
6.- Saber más que los ratones colorados.
7.- Pasarlas moradas.
8.- Ser el farolillo rojo.

a.- To stuff oneself.
b.- To hold the wooden spoon.
c.- To know a thing or two.
d.- To be a dirty old man.
e.- To be beyond a joke.
f.- Pitch-dark.
g.- To tear sb off a strip.
h.- To have the hell of a time.

KEY

Exercise 1

1.- red; 2.- red; 3.- black; 4.- blue; 5.- green; 6.- red; 7.- red; 8.- green

Exercise 2

1-b; 2-a; 3-d; 4-c; 5-c; 6-a

Exercise 3

1.- red tape; 2.- in the red; 3.- green fingers/a green thumb; 4.- white lie; 5.- white elephant; 6.- out of the blue

Exercise 4

1-e; 2-d; 3-f; 4-g; 5-a; 6-c; 7-h; 8-b





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