Want to add some color to your next conversation? Read on to see some colorful idioms of the English language.
To be caught red-handed is to be caught in the act of committing a misdemeanor, with the evidence there for all to see.
The Red Hand has long been a heraldic and cultural symbol of the northern Irish province of Ulster. One of the many myths as to its origin is the tale of how, in a boat race in which the first to touch the shore of Ulster was to become the province’s ruler, one contestant guaranteed his win by cutting off his hand and throwing it to the shore ahead of his rivals.
Green with envy
If you go back a few hundred years to the 16th and 17th centuries, great authors such as Shakespeare and Chaucer wrote of characters who were green with envy. Shakespeare uses green to describe both envy and jealousy at least three times in his works.
Out of the blue
If something happens unexpectedly or suddenly, you may exclaim it happened out of the blue. This is actually a shorter form of the expression “a bolt out of the blue,” which has the same meaning. It’s derived from the idea of a bolt of lightning appearing on an otherwise clear blue day — both unexpected and sudden.
Born in (or to) the purple
Someone who is born to the purple is born in a royal or aristocratic family.Purple is a color often associated with royalty, so to be born into it means you are a royal by blood.
Shades of gray
When something is sketchy, superficial, or vague. The phrase can be used in many contexts. And yes, it was a phrase before the movie came out. “The mystery and shades of gray that surround the case make it hard to pinpoint the suspect”