Color set expressions, idioms in English language

Different colors, their influence and impact on human’s life are spoken in the given article. some colors are given general description; their specific peculiarities in diverse nation’s cultures are also shown here. there is information about science Colorimetry, which studies color, knowledge about nature of color, primary, component and additional colors, existent and accepted colour models, properties of colors, psychology of color, descriptions of color, colour contrasts, mixing of colors, colour, colour harmony, colour culture and language of color. examples of color (red, green, white) riddles, proverbs, tongue twisters, sayings in english language are given. as possible, color set expressions, idioms are presented to reader’s attention in this material.

We live in a world surrounded everywhere by colors. Colors have strong impact, huge influence on us. it is color which differs us from dogs and other beasts, we distinguish it, they do not. Colors in daily routine is quite divergent and various, colors can have immense affect on our moods. For instance, according to psychologists, red color is one of the mentally profound, beefed-up colors, it spurs a quicker heartbeat and breathing. apart from it is considered a symbol of love, power. red color epitomizes audacity and gallantry, tenacity, fervency, endurance, energy, virility, excitement, warmth. on the other hand red implies brazenness and confrontation, defiance, aggression, visual influence, invasion, strain. since it is an acute color, red clothing might not help people in agreements, negations or confrontations. red vehicles are visible objective for thieves. red is the most romantic color, red roses are given to beloved close people. the Chinese adore this color, it is believed red brings luck and success, wards away evil spirits. the red packet which is presented every Chinese on New year eve is a badge of blessing and prosperity in the coming New year. red is also a color in Chinese wedding culture, because during wedding they tend to be glad and happy and by wearing red things, which will help bride and bridegroom who are getting married chasing out the bad luck on the day they're getting married. red in here denotes victory, jubilance, joy, cheerfulness, delight and for the newlyweds, this red color is regarded an efficacy as red embodied the Fire element in Chinese metaphysics. as for yellow color, it is hue of assurance, certainty, optimism, dignity, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, devotion, amicability, creativity. the shortcomings of it are insanity, fear, angst and dismay mental frailty, depression, dejection, restlessness. yellow is a memory reminder. a mark of yellow in every place might help in bearing in mind where you left your key, folding umbrella or a bibelot. besides yellow has compelling effect on nervous system, raises blood pressure and pulse rate, but not as strong as red does. together with red and blue, yellow is supposed to be primary color. yellow is the color of sun, dandelion, light and easiness. it retains vigilance and attentiveness, sharpness and alertness, promotes motor skills, its significant point is communicative. on the walls in the house it has a positive influence on general well-being and health. it can make a man be open, gracious, humane towards life and other people, close to him and even strangers. Cultural meaning of the given color is rather distinctive. say, in thailand yellow is acknowledged favorable and inclinable as the blazing bright yellow flower "cassia fistula" is a national symbol. other than, yellow is thought the royal color, the color of Monday which is the King's birthday. in Middle eat it is a color of happiness, joviality and welfare. Whereas in the land of the rising sun – Japan, yellow is an indication of aristocracy, beauty and elegance. in France it is jealousy, in Greece is sadness, misery and sorrow, whereas in europe it stands for fearfulness, weakness, hazard warning.

the science of color is called chromatics, chromatography, colorimetry, or just color science. [1, 15]it comprises the perception and noesis of color by eyes and brain. Colorimetry is "the science and technology used to calibrate and describe physically the human color perception. Many outstanding scientists and scholars investigates color science. amidst them we can find Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe's 1,400-page treatise on color was published in 1810. according to Goethe: “that i am the only person in this century who has the right insight into the difficult science of colors, that is what i am rather proud of, and that is what gives me the feeling that i have outstripped many.” Goethe conceives that the susceptibility of color reaching our brain are also shaped by our perception — by the mechanics of human vision and by the way our brains process information. thus, pursuant to Goethe, what we see of an object depends upon the object, the lighting and our perception.

every nation's folklore is full of color theme. let us take english literature. songs, rhymes, lullabies, riddles, tongue twisters, folktales, myths, jokes, and proverbs. tongue twisters about different colors are represented as an example here. "red leather yellow leather", "red lorry, yellow lorry", "red bulb blue bulb, red blood blue blood", "black bug bit a big black bear. but where is the big black bear that the big black bug bit?", "Pooped purple pelicans", "New cheese, blue cheese, chew cheese please", "a curious cream-colored cat crept into the crypt and crept out again. Did the curious creamcolored cat creep into the crypt and creep out again? if the curious cream-colored cat crept into the crypt and crept out again, where is the curious cream-colored cat that crept out again?". Now it is a turn to proverbs. "he who cannot paint must grind the colors". "a blind man is not judge of colors". "Never heed the color of a gift horse". "i shall paint you in your own colors". "red is love's color," said the wooer to his foxy charmer""even the colors of a chameleon are for survival not beauty""a man will show his true colors in adversity""there are many colorful flowers on the path of life, but the prettiest have the sharpest thorns""Noble and common blood is of the same color""yellow was made for the daisy, for the sun and happy-crazy""Dream in color; plan in black and white""blue above, blue below, blue best sandwiches the whole." Famous, well-known people also touch the color subject. "Colors are the smiles of nature" (James

henry leigh hunt, 1784-1859, english critic, essayist, poet and writer). «Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises».(Pedro Calderon de la barca, 1600-1681, a dramatist, poet and writer of the spanish Golden age), «if you're white and you're wrong, then you're wrong; if you're black and you're wrong, you're wrong. People are people. black, blue, pink, green

  • God make no rules about color; only society make rules where my people suffer, and that why we must have redemption and redemption now.» (bob Marley, 1945-1981, a Jamaican singer-songwriter).

«Without black, no color has any depth. but if you mix black with everything, suddenly there's shadow

  • no, not just shadow, but fullness. you've got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something that's real» (amy Grant, 1960, an american singer-songwriter, musician, author, media personality and actress). «the color of truth is gray» (a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947). «Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment» (Claude Monet, 18401926, a founder of French impressionist painting).

«Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not» (John Dewey, 1859-1952, an american philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer). «in our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. it is the color of love» (1887-1985, a russian-French artist). «to me, the good thing about living in l.a. is diversity in lifestyle choices, color, and religion» (sandra bullock, 1964, an american actress and producer).

«i prefer living in color» (David hockney, 1937, an english painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer). «i'm passionately involved in life: i love its change, its color, its movement. to be alive, to be able to see, to walk, to have houses, music, paintings – it's all a miracle» (arthur rubinstein, 1887-1982, a Polish-american classical pianist). as it is shown, influential and honored people, like painters, artists, actors also use colors, hue and glow to express, to couch their opinions and viewpoints. Now it is just a time for riddles. What's black and white and red all over? (a newspaper!); What's black and white, black and white, and black and white? (apenguin rolling down a hill!); What's orange and sounds like a parrot? (a carrot!); What happened when a red ship crashed into a blue ship? (the crew was marooned!); What

is grey and blue and very big? (an elephant holding its breath!); What's green and smells like blue paint? (Green paint!); What bird is always sad? (the blue jay!); What happens when you throw a white hat into the black sea? (it gets wet!); What is a cat's favorite color? (Purr-ple!)

an idiom is a combination of several words which has a metaphorical and pictorial meaning owing to its common usage. its allegorical meaning is separate from the literal meaning. there are plenty of idioms and they oftentimes occur in all languages. there are estimated to be at least twentyfive thousand idiomatic expressions in the english language . idioms are used for another way of saying things, in a more, creative way. as an example, if you were to say "that test was easy." you could have said it "that test was a piece of cake." a phraseme, also called a set of thoughts, set phrase, idiomatic phrase, multi-word expression, or idiom is a multi-word or multi-morphemic words. set expression means a phrase or group of words that make up a whole new meaning. as an illustration, here are set expressions «back along the» – behind,

«to balance» – to neutralize, «new blood» – new people in an organization who will provide new ideas and energy, «fresh from somewhere» – having just arrived from somewhere, «fresh and sweet» – very clean and fresh smelling, «argue the toss» – a cavilling dispute. there are so many varieties of phrasemes, the english can be proud of a very rich set of dictionaries of word-groups and idiomatic phrases. it is clear that color idioms, set expressions take considerable, paramount amount in the list of huge english literature. so color idioms. White. as white as a ghost – very pale because of fear or shock or illness; as white as a sheetvery pale; as white as the driven snow – very white; black and white – either good or bad, either one way or the other way, oversimplified; in black and white – in writing, officially; put (something) down in black and white

  • to write the details of a contract or something on paper; raise a white flag – to indicate that you have been defeated and that you want to give up; wave a white flag – to indicate that you have been defeated and that you want to give up; white elephant – a useless possession (that often costs money to maintain); white lie – a harmless or small lie told to be polite or to avoid hurting someone's feelings; white sale – the selling of towels or sheets at a reduced price; white-tie event/affair – an event that requires guests to wear formal dress such as men

wearing white bow ties with formal evening dress; whitewash (something) – to cover up or gloss over faults or errors or wrong doing; yellow. have a yellow streak – to be cowardly; yellow-bellied – extremely timid, cowardly; red. as red as a cherry

  • bright red; as red as a poppy – bright red; as red as a rose – intensely red; as red as a ruby – deep red; as red as blood – deep red; catch (someone) red-handed
  • to catch someone in the middle of doing something wrong; ears are red – one's ears are red from embarrassment; in the red – to be in debt, to be unprofitable; like waving a red flag in front of a bull
  • what you are doing will definitely make someone angry or upset; out of the red – out of debt; paint the town red – to go out and party and have a good time; red-carpet treatment – to receive special or royal treatment; red-eye – an airplane flight that leaves late at night and arrives early in the morning; a red flag – a signal that something is not working properly or correctly; red herring – an unimportant matter that draws attention away from the main subject; red-hot – very hot, creating much excitement or demand; red in the face – embarrassed; red-letter day – a day that is memorable because of some important event; red tape – excessive formalities in official business; roll out the red carpet – to greet a person with great respect, to give a big welcome to someone; see red – to become very angry; Pink. in the pink (of condition) – in very good health; look at the world through rose-colored glasses – to see only the good things about something, to be too optimistic; pink slip – a termination notice from a job; see pink elephants – to see things which are not really there because they are only in your imagination; see the world through rose-colored glasses – to see only the good things about something, to be too optimistic; tickled pink – to be very pleased or delighted by someone or something; Green. get the green light – to receive a signal to start or continue something; give (someone) the green light – to give someone permission to proceed with a project; grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence) – a place or situation that is far away or different seems better than one's present situation; green – to be inexperienced or immature; green around the gills – looking sick; green belt – an area of fields and trees around a town; green-eyed monster – jealousy; green thumb – a talent for gardening, the ability to make things grow; green with envy – to be very jealous, to be full of envy; greenhorn – an untrained or inexperienced or naive

person; have the green light – to have a signal to start or continue something; Grey. get gray hair – to have one's hair turn gray from stress; a grey area – something that is not clearly defined and does not conform to an existing set of rules, neither black or white, neither one way or another way; grey matter

brains, intelligence; blue. black and blue – bruised; blue blood – the blood of a noble or wealthy or aristocratic family; blue in the face – to be very angry or upset, to be excited and very emotional; blue-ribbon – of superior quality or distinction, the best of a group; get the blues – to become sad or depressed; have the blues – to be sad or depressed; out of the blue -without any warning, by surprise (like something that comes out of a blue sky); talk a blue streak – to talk very much and very rapidly; talk until one is blue in the face – to talk until one is exhausted; black. as black as a skillet – very black; as black as a stack of black cats – very black; as black as a sweep – very dirty or black (a chimney sweep cleans chimneys and becomes very black); as black as coal – very black; as black as night – very dark and black; as black as pitch – very black; as black as the ace of spades – very black; black and blue – bruised; black and white – either good or bad, either one way or the other way, oversimplified; black box – an electronic device such as a flight recorder that can be removed from an aircraft as a single package; black eye – a bruise near one's eye which makes it appear black; black market – the place where goods or money are illegally bought and sold; black out – to darken a room or building by turning off the lights; black out – to lose consciousness; black sheep (of a family) – a person who is a disgrace to a family or group; blackball (someone) – to exclude or ostracize someone socially, to reject someone; blacklist (someone) – to exclude or ostracize someone, to write someone's name on a list if they break some rules; blackmail (someone) – to extort or take money from someone by threatening him or her; blackout – a temporary situation where you do not release some information; black-tie event/affair – a formal event where guests wear semi-formal clothes with men wearing black bow ties with tuxedos or dinner jackets; in black and white – in writing, officially; in (someone's) black books – to be in disgrace or in disfavor with someone; in the black – to be successful or profitable; pitch-black – very black, as black as pitch; pot calling the kettle black – the person who criticizes or accuses someone else is as guilty as the person he 

or she criticizes or accuses; put (something) down in black and white – to write the details of a contract or something on paper; brown. brown as a berry – very brown from the sun; quite suntanned; brown someone off – to make someone angry; brown out

to diminish in power and dim the lights, causing a brownout; do something up brown – to do something just right or with great effect; be as brown as a berry (british and australian) – if someone is as brown as a berry their skin has become much darker because of the effects of the sun; brown-bagging – taking your own food, usually in a brown paper bag, to eat in the middle of the day when you are not at home; brown-nose – to try too hard to please someone, especially someone in a position of authority, in a way that other people find unpleasant;

basically, besides colors' initiate psychological meanings, in english culture different colors are perceived divergently. [2, 45] say, blue color may refer to the feeling of anguish, sorrow and sadness. "he was feeling blue". this is because blue was related to rain, or storms, and in Greek mythology, the god zeus would make rain when he was sad (crying), and a storm when he was angry. [3, 11] Kyanos was a name used in ancient Greek to refer to dark blue tile (in english it means blue-green or cyan). the phrase "feeling blue" is linked also to a custom among many old deepwater sailing ships. if the ship lost the leading figure like captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port. While red is revealed with glowing heat and warmth. it can also stands for threat and peril (fire). red is the color

of blood, and as such has strong symbolism as life, endurance and vitality. it draws our attention to the spirit of life and living with hint on survival. red is also the color of devotion and happiness. let us take the following sentences as examples, e.g. Jack is timid. Jack is yellow-bellied (coward, craven); he has good health. he is in the pink (in very good condition, physically and emotionally). it goes without saying that the latter sentences are more expressive, memorable, distinctive. When we use in the speech of our own, various set expressions, idioms, phrasal verbs, collocations, our intercourse becomes vivid and striking. language speakers use idioms to express something that other words do not vocalize as clearly or as cleverly. it is frequently used as an image or symbol to describe something as clearly as possible. For example, "red-letter day" suggests the idea of a day that is memorable because of some important event. idioms tend to be informal and are best used in spoken rather than written english. We are aware of that colors are considerable, coloring is significant in everyone's live, in the lives of adults, children. so basically, we need colors for self expression, therapy, color recognition, control, coordination, building motor skills, focus, boundaries, milestone. all human beings are in great necessity of colors, it is as simple as that. Colors are crucial, they make us feel delighted. Color is light of our daily routine, we can derive it from nature, magnificent scenery and marvelous landscape. We can also enjoy – color beauty in riddles, proverbs, saying idioms, set expressions. i suppose, they are worth knowing, using them frequently during conversation.


  1. buimistry t. Colorimetry. Niola Press Publishing house. – 2008. – 236 p.
  2. Glenn Kennel. Color and Mastering for Digital Cinema. – october 2006. – 125 p.
  3. steve hullfish. the art and technique of Digital Color Correction. – June 2012. – 220 p.
Magazine: KazNU BULLETIN
Year: 2013
City: Almaty
Category: Philology