Colour Idioms

 2017-04-04 21:06:23      

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Сегодня мы поговорим об одной из самых интересных и важных для олимпиадника тем – идиоме. Зачастую одна из частей Use of English проверяет знание фразеологизмов (e.g. РЭ-2016 - animal idioms, ЗЭ-2016, РЭ-2017– body idioms). Каждый участник олимпиады довольно легко может набрать баллы на таком задании. Единственное, что для этого потребуется, – предварительно просмотреть (желательно, по темам) основные идиомы.

Этим мы сегодня и займемся – разберем Colour Idioms.

Данная тема предельно проста, потому что материал интересен, запоминается быстро и легко. Для более эффективного усвоения информации, стоит заучивать идиомы в контексте или проводить ассоциации, мысленно прорисовывая каждый фразеологизм.



1. To have a green thumb (AmE) - to have a knack for planting/обладать способностями к садоводству

(John has a green thumb- his garden is really beautiful.)

2. To have green fingers (BrE) - syn. to have a green thumb.

3.To be green around the gills- to look pale, ill/ выглядеть «неважно», больным

(Almost all the passengers looked green around the gills after the tiring flight to Izhevsk.)

4. A green belt – a zone of farmland/uncultivated land where building is not allowed/ «зеленый пояс»

(Our government is aimed at increasing the green belt around the city.)

5. To be (as) green as a gooseberry – to be immature, unexperienced/быть неопытным, «зеленым»

(John has just left school and he is green as a gooseberry)

6. The rub of the green – good fortune, luck (especially in sports)/удача (о спорте)

(We did our best to win the game but we didn’t get the rub of the green)


1. To blue-pencil – to alter or edit something/редактировать, подвергать цензуре

(During the War all the letters written by soldiers were blue-penciled)

2. A blue-eyed boy (syn. a fair-haired boy) – a man who is admired by someone and treated with special favor/ любимчик

(John is a blue-eyed boy of the principal)

3. A bolt from the blue – something completely unexpected/ «гром среди ясного неба»

(My brother’s marriage was a bolt from the blue for our family)

4. Blue-ribbon (adj.) - something of superior quality/ что-то наилучшего качества

(A blue-ribbon committee was to choose the winner of the contest)

5. A blue ribbon (noun) – the highest award/ высшая награда

(After years of preparation, last month he managed to get a blue ribbon of the competition)

6. To talk a blue streak – to talk rapidly without stopping/ тараторить

(He is always talking a blue streak and sometimes I find it impossible to understand him!)

7. Once in a blue moon – seldom/ редко

(My husband presents me with flowers once in a blue moon)

8. Out of the blue – suddenly/внезапно

(The news of Mr. Smith’s death came out of the blue)

9. Blue in the face- до посинения

(There are people you can argue with until you’re blue in the face)

10. To scream blue murder – to shout or complain very loudly/громко, истошно кричать

(He usually screams blue murder if he doesn’t get what he wants)


1 .Red tape – over-strict attention to bureaucratic rules/ бюрократические препоны

(Red tape prevented John from going abroad because he couldn’t get the visa on time)

2. Red-eye (about a flight) – a flight departing late at night and arriving in the early morning/ ночной перелёт

(We took a red-eye from Moscow to Izhevsk)

3. To be in the red – to owe money/ быть в долгу

(Those who invested their business lost the money – the company is in the red)

4. A red-letter day – a happy, special, significant day/ счастливый памятный день

(She said that the day she had got her driving license had been a red-letter day for her)

5. To see red – to be angry/ злиться

(I did see red when I was fined for crossing the road in the wrong place)

6. To roll out the red carpet – to give a guest a special treatment/ приветствовать гостя лучшим образом

(When the President visited our city the local government rolled out the red carpet)


1. Black and blue – to have bruises/ быть в синяках

(My leg was black and blue after the accident)

2. (As) black as a skillet – completely dark/ кромешная тьма

(I went down to the cellar and couldn’t see anything – it was black as a skillet)

3. The pot calls the kettle black – чья бы корова мычала…

(She shouts at her brother for not cleaning the room but she never does the chores herself! It’s like the pot calling the kettle black…)

4. In black books – to fall out of favor with someone/ быть в немилости у кого-то

(Our teacher never gives me excellent marks, though I try really hard! I’m definitely in his black books.)

5. Pitch-black (adj.) – very dark/ очень темно

(The room was pitch-black)

6. To be in the black – NOT to be in debt/ быть в хорошем финансовом положении

(I wish my business was in the black but, unfortunately, it’s in the red)

7. A black sheep – the outcast of the family/ паршивая овца

(All his relatives are prominent politicians, but he is a criminal. He is sure to be a black sheep.)

8. To blackball – to vote against allowing someone to be a member of a group/ проголосовать против кого-то

(My friend was looking forward to becoming a member of The School Parliament but she was blackballed)


1. A pink slip – a notice of termination from your employer/ уведомление об увольнении

(She is unemployed now – yesterday she received a pink slip from her boss)

2. To see pink elephants – to see things that exist only in your imagination/ выдумывать

(Don’t believe what she says! She is just seeing pink elephants!)

3. In the pink of condition – very strong and healthy/ в прекрасном состоянии здоровья

(She’s finally recovered from her illness and now she’s in the pink of condition again)

4. To be tickled pink – to be delighted/ быть очень довольным

(When my parents bought me a mobile phone I was tickled pink with it!)


1. A silver bullet – a simple remedy for an intricate situation/ магическое решение, выход из сложной ситуации

(There’s no silver bullet so we should analyse the data carefully one more time)

2. Silver-tongued (adj.) – marked by eloquent expression (about a speech)/ выразительный, язык подвешен

(Sergey Lavrov is known to be a silver- tongued statesman)

3. To be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth – to be born into wealth and privilege/ родиться в рубашке

(James doesn’t even know how to wash the dishes – he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth!)

4. Every cloud has a silver lining – every unpleasant situation has an advantage/ нет худа без добра

(John was dismissed but then he found another job where he met his future wife, so every cloud has a silver lining)


1. Yellow-bellied (adj.) – cowardly/ трусливый

(Don’t be yellow- bellied! Always stand for your point of view!)

2. A white elephant – a burdensome possession/ обуза, дорогостоящее, но бесполезное приобретение (The luxurious mansion he’s living in is a white elephant)

3. As white as a sheet – pale (because of illness, shock or fear)/ бледный, как полотно

(The girl saw a spider and became as white as a sheet)

4. A golden parachute – a special agreement between an employee and a company specifying that the employee will receive certain benefits in case his employment is terminated/ «золотой парашют», соглашение, по которому менеджер получает крупную денежную сумму в случае увольнения.

(A golden parachute is often used as a measure to discourage an unwanted takeover attempt)

5. A golden handshake – a large sum of money that is given to those who leave the company (especially, to those who are forced to leave)/ увольнение работника с уплатой ему финансовой компенсации

(When the company was restructured the manager received a golden handshake)

6. To brown bag it – to take a lunch to work/ «захватить» обед с собой

(The canteen was closed last week so I had to brown bag it)

7. Brown as a berry – tanned/ загорелый (She’s as brown as a berry after a month spent in Spain)

8. To brown off – to make someone angry/ разозлить кого-либо (My mom was browned off when she discovered I had been walking in the rain for 3 hours)

9. Use your grey matter – use your brain/подумай (Use your grey matter and solve the riddle)

10. A grey area – an unclear situation where the rules are unknown/ размытая проблема, неоднозначная и неопределенная ситуация

(The difference between a nuclear fission and a nuclear fusion is still a grey area for me)

11. Shrinking violet (adj.) – modest, shy/ скромный

(Mary doesn’t like to attract anyone’s attention, she’s really shrinking violet)

12. To be born to the purple – born in a royal/ aristocratic family/ рожденный в королевской/ знатной семье

(Victoria was born to the purple – her parents were the members of the royal family)


1. Не забывайте, что подавляющее большинство идиом относятся к colloquial English!!! Убедительная просьба: не использовать их в formal letters, proposals и в отчётах! :)

2. Заметьте, что в устойчивых словосочетаниях, артикли внутри фразеологического оборота не могут быть изменены!

Сегодня мы поговорили о наиболее частотных фразеологизмах, относящихся к блоку colour idioms.

А сейчас проверьте себя, вставив подходящий вариант в нижеследующие предложениях:

1. The company I work for is very profitable, it is in the _______.

a) red

b) blue

c) black

2. She is afraid of performing, because she hates being the centre of attention. How can people be so shrinking _______?

a) violet

b) blue

c) grey

d) green

3. We were really lucky that day and won the championship. We felt we got the rub of the ______.

a) black

b) green

c) pink

d) red

4. It’s impossible to communicate with my best friend, she is always talking a ______ streak!!

a) black

b) grey

c) blue

d) red

5. I expected to be promoted but instead I got a _____ slip and had to find a new job.

a) blue

b) brown

c) grey

d) pink


Список использованных источников:

1. [Электронный ресурс]URL:

2. [Электронный ресурс]URL:

3. A. S. Hornby - Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary

4. Michael McCarthy, Felicity O’Dell - English idioms in use