- GREY IDIOMS
52. A grey area
Something that is not clearly defined, and there is still debate as to whether it is ‘black or white’, neither one way or another
- Some of the current rules surrounding bedroom tax in the UK seem to be in a grey area, as many residents disagree with its determining factors.
53. A golden opportunity
An opportunity that may never present itself again
- Think carefully about what you’re going to do, this is a golden opportunity, and you don’t want to mess it up!
54. A golden handshake
A large sum of money that is paid to a retiring manager or director, or to a redundant worker
- The company Chairman received a huge golden handshake when he retired.
55. Golden boy
The term given to a young man idolised for a great skill, usually in sport.
- By many of his fans, Wayne Rooney is seen as the golden boy of his football team.
56. Tickled pink
To be very pleased, thrilled or delighted about something
- Anna was tickled pink that her fiancé had made such an effort for her birthday.
57. See pink elephants
When someone sees things that are not really there, because they are in their imagination
- Anyone who hears his story thinks he sees pink elephants. It’s just such a far-fetched story, and very hard to believe.
58. Pink Slip
A termination notice received from a job
- They gave me my pink slip last week, so I’ve got to find a new job now.
59. In the pink of something
Meaning in very good health
- My grandmother looked ever so well when I saw her, she was in the pink of condition.
60. To be shown the red card
This derives from football terminology, and means to be dismissed from your job
- The company Accountant was shown the red card, after they found out he was using company money for personal gain.
61. To be in the red
To have an overdraft, be in debt to your bank, or owe an institution some money
- I’ve got three credit card bills to pay off at the moment. I hate being in the red!
62. To be out of the red
To be out of debt
- Our company is finally out of the red now. We’ve managed to pay back our loan, and now we’re making profit!
63. A red flag
A signal that something is not working properly or correctly
- The fallen trees along the road raised a red flag for the safety inspectors.
64. Blood red
Used to describe the deep red colour of something
- She was wearing a beautiful cocktail dress with blood red lipstick to match.
65. Beet red
Also used to describe dark red, usually the colour of a face (derives from beetroot)
- I could see my son up on the stage, his little face was beet red!
66. Red hot
Something new and exciting, creating much demand
- The new video game is red-hot. Some fans have been waiting outside stores for days, to get a hold of them!
67. Red herring
An unimportant matter that misleads everyone and draws attention away from the main subject
- Unfortunately that witness was just a red herring. She had no justification to her story, and it was a waste of valuable time.
68. Catch someone red-handed
To catch someone in the act of committing a crime, or doing something wrong that they shouldn’t be doing
- He kept lying to me about where he was going in the evenings, so yesterday I followed him and caught him red-handed. He was with another woman!
69. Red in the face
To become embarrassed
- I went red in the face when the teacher told me off in front of everyone for arriving late!
A journey that leaves late at night and arrives early in the morning
- We had to catch the red-eye flight last night, and I’m completely exhausted now.
71. Red-letter day
A day that is memorable because of some important event
- The day I graduated was a red-letter day for my mum, she still talks about it today!
72. To look through rose-coloured/tinted spectacles/glasses
When someone sees things in an overly flattering or over-optimistic light
- Sarah doesn’t understand what it’s like for us. She has always seen everything through rose-tinted glasses because her parents spoilt her so much when she was young!
73. To see red
To react with uncontrollable rage against someone or something
- John saw red when he heard someone shouting at his mother.
74. Red tape
The term used for bureaucratic delay, or excessive formalities, and attention to rules and regulations, often resulting in injustice to the ordinary citizen
- I just want to start my own business, but the amount of red tape involved is so frustrating, that it almost makes me want to give up!
75. To see the red light
To recognise approaching danger. The red light is referred to as a danger signal
- The doctor warned me for so many years that I should stop smoking, but I didn’t listen. When I had a minor heart attack last year, I saw the red light and realised that I had to quit smoking, and improve my health.
76. Paint the town red
To go out and have a really good time at a party
- I’ve managed to get a babysitter for this weekend. Let’s go and paint the town red!
77. Roll out the red carpet
To greet a person with great respect, and give them a big, warm welcome
- When Barack Obama came to visit our school, we rolled out the red carpet for him.
78. Red-carpet treatment
(Similar to the one above) To receive special or royal treatment, and be received with a big, warm welcome
- My aunt always gives us the red-carpet treatment when we go to visit her.
79. The silver screen
A term for the cinema
- Do you fancy going to watch that movie on the silver screen tonight?
80. Born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
Meaning born into a rich family
- I don’t think Kelly has ever had a job. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
81. To be given something on a silver plate/platter
When something is offered to someone whole-heartedly (in a metaphorical sense)
- I offered my heart to him on a silver platter, and he turned it down.
82. As white as a sheet
When someone is in a state of great fear or anxiety
- Harold are you alright? You’re as white as a sheet, what’s the matter?
83. Raise a white flag
This indicates that one has accepted defeat and surrenders to the other party
- There was such a heated debate going on in the conference room, they wouldn’t back down! I just raised my white flag in the end.
84. Whitewash something
To cover up or gloss over faults or wrongdoings
- The government was accused of trying to whitewash the scandal over charity pay-outs.
85. White elephant
A term used for a useless possession, something that is of no use
- My mum bought a new CD player for me, but it’s a white elephant. I don’t need it, I don’t even have any CDs!
86. White as a ghost
Used to describe someone who is very pale because of pain, fear, shock or illness
- I didn’t think the movie was that scary, but my sister was as white as a ghost!
87. A white lie
A ‘little’ or ‘harmless’ lie told in order to be polite and avoid hurting someone’s feelings, or do something that is not seriously wrong
- I just wanted to get out of work so I told my boss a little white lie, and said I had a doctor’s appointment.
88. White collar
A term used for office workers that traditionally wear white shirts with a collar.
- We have a lot of vacancies for white-collar workers at the moment, but hardly anyone is applying for them!
Someone who is seen as a coward or extremely timid
- There is no point in asking him what to do. He is a yellow-bellied coward, and won’t stand up for what is right!
90. A yellow streak
Someone who has cowardice in their character
- He has always had a big yellow streak running down his back, don’t expect him to change now!