Do you see the world through rose-coloured glasses, or maybe you see it strictly as black and white?
When was the last time you showed your true colours, or perhaps you’ve been feeling a little off colour lately?
Were you a golden child who passed your exams with flying colours, or like me, a black sheep of the family?
Our language is mixed with a kaleidoscope of colourful words, so let me dab into my palette and splash a bit of colour into your world…
I see red
Roll out the red carpet; it’s a red letter day and I’m going to paint the town red!
Although I did go red once when I accidentally stumbled into the red light district and went through a lot of red tape when I was picked up by the police, who gave me a red card.
Red is associated with energy, danger, strength, power, as well as passion, desire, and love. It’s an emotionally intense colour which enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.
It can also mean temper or anger, so be careful where you’re waving that red flag.
Red has high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red.
They call me mellow yellow
Apparently, men often perceive yellow as light-hearted, so it’s generally not used to sell prestigious, expensive products to them. Perhaps that’s why you don’t see many men wearing a yellow business suit or driving a yellow Mercedes?
On the bright side, though, yellow is associated with joy, happiness and intellect. It’s also an attention getter, which makes it easier to spot a taxi or notice a warning sign.
The green-eyed monster
I’m green with envy at people with green thumbs, although I realise the grass isn’t always greener on the other side; but I do like to eat my greens.
Once, I was green around the gills after I gave blood – I had to lie down with my feet up until I got some colour back into my cheeks.
Green is the colour of nature and symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. It has strong emotional correspondence with safety, for example a green traffic light means ‘go’. It’s also used in advertising drugs and medical products.
Once in a blue moon
Have you ever talked until you were blue in the face, or screamed blue murder while having a blue (fight)?
Once in a blue moon (rarely) I might watch a blue movie; and sometimes when I feel blue (sad) I listen to the blues.
But I’ve discovered that if you mix warm colours like yellow, red and blue you can create a high-impact, vibrant design; the perfect colour scheme for a true blue superhero.
Blue symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith and truth. It’s considered beneficial to the mind and body as it slows our metabolism and produces a calming effect.
Blue is also used to promote products and services related to cleanliness (water purification filters, cleaning liquids), air and sky (airlines, airports, air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water).
Purple is associated with royalty and symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. It’s also associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.
Perhaps I should get myself a purple cape?
A little white lie
Strictly speaking, white is not a colour, but the manifestation of all colours combined; it represents wholeness and completion.
It means safety, purity, and cleanliness, which is why it’s associated with hospitals, doctors and sterility. It’s also used to suggest safety when promoting medical products.
Is that why we can get away with telling a little white lie?
In the black
Black has the most negative connotations across the rainbow spectrum: You can be blackballed, blackmailed and blacklisted. You can be in a black mood, black-hearted, and in the black while profiteering from the black market. You’re probably also the black sheep of the family (now that’s a black mark against your name).
And have you noticed that the bad guys all wear black hats?
It’s the most misunderstood colour: on the one hand, it’s associated with power, elegance and formality (a black tie dinner), and on the other with death, evil (the black arts), and mystery.
Black absorbs all aspects of light and has come to mean hidden, fearful or bad experiences, so it’s linked to the unknown or the unseen.
Black is the absence of all colours, so when people speak of opposites, it’s in terms of black and white.
I sense the mood has darkened somewhat, so I’ve left a more stimulating colour to the end.
Oranges and lemons
Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow - it’s associated with joy and sunshine.
It represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, success, and stimulation.
Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. It’s highly visible and used to catch attention – so you can easily see the traffic control guys on the side of the road.
I hope you’re tickled pink with the splash of colour in your world, so take off those rose-coloured glasses, ladies, put on your little black dress, then go out and paint the town red!
What’s your favourite colour?
Click here for more idioms about colours.
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I acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Joondoburri people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, the waters and sky. I pay my respect to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
© 2023 HARI KOTROTSIOS