The Colours of English

Does winter make you feel blue? Does it make you want to sit next to a red hot fire with a book? OK, maybe that’s a white lie – perhaps you’d prefer watching TV instead! There are many expressions in English that use colours to talk about emotions, situations, or activities. Here are just a few of them for you to try and practise with!


If something is red hot it can mean two things. It could be something you love, whether it’s a new song you’ve just heard or the clothes your friend’s wearing – “Wow, Sarah, your outfit is red hot today!” Red hot has a more literal meaning too – that something is very very hot, like a fire, or fresh cookies out of the oven. But make sure you don’t steal those cookies – you might get caught red-handed! This means that you were seen doing something wrong – a robber taking something from a shop who is filmed on camera, for example, has been caught red-handed.


That robber might end up on a blacklist and be banned or excluded from the shop. They could also be the black sheep of their family – the most different or unusual member, possibly looked down on by the others. We use this expression to describe anyone or anything that stands out from what’s considered ‘normal’ – like a black sheep in a field of white ones!


Robbers might be criminals, but it’s not illegal to tell a white lie every now and then. This refers to a falsehood you tell someone so as not to hurt their feelings. Maybe Sarah’s dress wasn’t red hot after all – but rather than upset her, you told her that white lie to make her feel better!


I hope that you are not too yellow-bellied to try to use some of the language in this post! It means that you are cowardly, or afraid to do something. Be brave and make sure you keep practising your English – you’ll sound like a natural in no time!


However, don’t be green with envy of those who have a higher level of English than you. Keep up the good work and you will certainly be able to match their ability! Maybe to relax from your studies, you could try gardening – that will give you a green thumb, or in other words you’ll begin to really enjoy spending time working with nature.


Gardening could help when you’re feeling blue – somewhat upset. You might say this if you’ve had a bad day, or if the weather is miserable. But hopefully this only happens once in a blue moon – or, rather, it happens very rarely.


Anyway, I’m simply tickled pink – very pleased! – that you’ve decided to read this post today. I hope you have learned some new vocabulary. But it really is just the start – there are so many colourful expressions in English! Do you know of any more?

Author: Shane Rynhart

Cavendish School of English Brochure


Dates and Fees

Dates and Fees

Scroll to Top