American English color-related idioms

I can’t recall when and how I have this collection of idioms, but I believe you guys will want to know them 😉


  • black humor : funny way of looking at or treating something that is serious or sad
  • black market : illegal trading of goods that are not allowed to be bought and sold
  • black sheep : outcast, especially of a family [as a single black sheep among a family of white sheep]
  • blacklist : a list of people, countries, etc. who are considered by a particular authority or group to be unacceptable and who should be avoided and not trusted.
  • blackout : loss of electricity
  • blackmail : when you obtain money from people or force them to do something by threatening to make known a secret of theirs or to harm them.


  • blue law : a law that limits activities which are considered to be immoral for religious reasons, such as shopping or working on Sundays.
  • blue Monday : day we must return to work but we don’t want to
  • blue print : an early plan or design which explains how something might by achieved
  • blue-collar workers : laborers


  • brown out : partial loss of electricity


  • gray area : a situation which is not clear or where the rules are not known
  • gray matter : 1. brain (the organ) 2. intelligence


  • green light : approval
  • green card : document giving a foreigner permission to live and work in the United States
  • green salad : a salad which consists of lettuce and other raw green vegetables


  • pink slip : a document given to a person telling them that they do not have a job any more


  • red flag : a flag used as a sign of danger
  • red herring : a topic thrown into a discussion in order to mislead
  • red-eye : a flight taken at night
  • red meat : meat from mammals, especially beef and lamb
  • red neck : insulting term for a working class white southerner
  • red tape : official rules and processes that seem unnecessary and delay results


  • white elephant : something that has cost a lot of money but has no useful purpose
  • white flag : a flag that is waved to show the acceptance of defeat or a lack of intention to attack
  • white lie : harmless lie, or lie told to protect somebody’s feelings
  • white paper : a government report on a particular subject giving information and details of future planned laws
  • white-collar workers : management


  • yellow journalism : emotional sensational journalism
  • yellow card : in football, a small yellow card which is shown to a player by the referee as a warning that the player has not obeyed a rule.

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