Do you want to develop a colourful vocabulary? Learn the meanings of these seven phrases, and you can start using them in your everyday life. I chose these examples of idioms because of how useful they are at home, in the workplace, and at school. These expressions are commonly used in spoken English. Watch this lesson, and add some decoration to your English!
see through rose-tinted glasses
give someone the green light
with flying colors
paint the town red
blue-collared / white-collared
see things in black and white
7 colorful English idioms video
Hi. Welcome back to engVid. My name’s Adam. Nice to see you again. Today’s lesson is about idioms. Everybody loves to learn new idioms because they’re used every day. Sometimes they’re a little bit hard to understand. Today, we’re looking at colourful idioms, idioms that use colour in their expression. Before I begin, “colourful”, you’ll notice I used “u”. I’m Canadian, we use the “u” just like the British people. Americans use only the “o”, no “u”. I used both just to make everybody happy. So just so you understand, it’s not a spelling mistake either way.
Let’s begin. So I have a few idioms here. The thing about idioms, they never mean what the words say; you have to actually understand what the idiom means and how to use it.
So, if someone sees the world or sees a situation “through rose-tinted glasses”. “Glasses” are glasses you wear on your head. “Rose-tinted”, there’s a little bit of a pink shade on the glass. So you’re seeing the world a little bit pinkish, like the colour of the rose. That means you’re very optimistic. Even in a bad situation, you’re going to see everything as good. You’re seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses. Right? You work at a company and they’re about to layoff half of the staff; half of the people are going home, no more job. And you think: “Oh, this is a great opportunity for me to find a new job and get a… advance my career.” So I am seeing the situation through rose-tinted glasses. I don’t see the bad economy, I don’t see the fact that I’m 55 years old and I don’t have any skills except for what I do in my job, but I will be okay. “Rose-tinted glasses”.
“Give someone the green light.” You often hear this about governments giving the army the green light to attack. “To give the green light”, to give permission. Okay? Go ahead, like a green light in traffic. You see the green light, press the gas, you go. So, for example: The… excuse me. The board of directors gave the CEO the green light to layoff half his staff, even the ones wearing rose-tinted glasses. Okay? So everybody’s going home; no more work.
“With flying colors”, we always add this expression to the end of an event or action. So, for example: “He passed his interview with flying colours.” With flying colours means very, very successful; he did very, very well. He went to a job interview, he passed with flying colours. He got offered the job. Okay?
If you’re “tickled pink”, means you’re very, very happy. Like tickled, tickle, funny – right? You’re tickled pink, you get all pink in the face, you’re very happy. So, Tom’s grandfather was very… was tickled pink when he found out that Tom and his wife were pregnant. Now, I say: “Tom and his wife were pregnant,” because it’s common for couples to think of themselves as pregnant, even though it’s only the woman, of course.
“Paint the town red.” This is a very good expression. You’re studying for your English exams. Okay? You’re very hard… studying very hard, very hard, very hard. You finish your exams, you’re free. This weekend, you’re going to go paint the town red, means you’re going to go party. You’re going to have a very good time, you’re going to spend all night drinking, and partying, and clubs, and dancing, and people. Have a very good time, you’re going to paint the town red; do everything.
“Blue-collared worker/white-collared worker”. This might be a very common expression for you. “Blue-collared”. So, first of all, a collar, if you have a shirt with a tie let’s say or no tie. This is the collar-sorry about the tapping-you have a collar. If it’s blue, means you’re working in a factory or a garage; you’re a mechanic or you’re working in some skilled job. If you’re a white-collared worker, if the colour of your collar is white, means you’re working in an office, you’re some kind of professional. Okay?
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