Dr. Parimala Srinivasan (Director Academics, Faith Foundation Global School)

Idioms are friendly, colloquial little phrases that everyone uses and believe they understand. They are peculiar turns of expressions which have become established in the language by long and sustained usage. The beauty of the idioms lies in the arrangement of the words and they cannot be substituted or altered. That would not only mar the beauty but also render the idioms incorrect. For most idioms convey implications totally unconnected with the normal meanings of the words themselves. Therefore they can never be rewritten in ordinary language. If done so, the force, vividness, and terseness of the idioms would disappear resulting in a bland taste, which is neither appetizing nor eye-catching.

In this piece. I would like to focus on some colorful idioms after all Holi the festival of colors has just gone by so it’s only appropriate we get to know those idioms associated with the colors. I am sure that these would lend color and beauty to our expressions.

Are you browned off on your friend or employer, why don’t you put down in black and white what a yellow dog he/she is? How you consider him/her a yellow-bellied a yellow-livered person, who should be, according to you reduced to ashes.

I am sure the person in question would be aghast to be called all these names out of the blue. He would be tickled pink and would perhaps go blue in the face denying everything or he would have the blues and have a blackout. He would be in a brown study and wonder what to do. Maybe it is the green-eyed monster, which has made you view with a jaundiced eye, a person who is the pink of perfection or is it the case of the pot calling the kettle black? If this is the case, your friend would still be the black sheep. Before he becomes black as thunder, I think you should give him an olive branch, or else he is sure to fire you. That would surely be a red letter day for him. He would come out in flying colors and would get a blue ribbon for his bold stand. The yellow dog would have turned into a blue-eyed boy.

So having expressed this let’s now understand what these colorful idioms really mean:-

Browned off: Annoyed

Black and white: To be put in writing

Yellow dog: An Utterly contemptible person

Yellow-bellied: Cowardly

Yellow livered: Cowardly

Reduced to ashes: Completely destroyed by fire

Out of the blue: Unexpectedly

Tickled pink: Be assumed

Blue in the face: Deny vehemently

Have the blues: Be deeply depressed

Blackout: Temporary loss of memory or consciousness

Brown study: Apparently thinking deeply but actually in a mental vacuum

Green-eyed monster: Jealousy

View with a jaundiced eye: See things with resentment or prejudice

Pink of perfection: Absolutely and completely perfect

Pot calling the kettle black: Accusing another of faults you are yourself guilty of.

Black sheep: Member of a family regarded as a disgrace

Black as thunder: Furious

Olive branch: Gesture of peace

 Fire: Dismiss from job

Red letter day: A day of rejoicing

Flying colors: Be successful

Blue ribbon: Highest attainable honor prize

Blue eyed boy: Favourite person

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