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  • Writer's pictureKaty

Don’t Feel Blue! 5 Colourful English Expressions

Did you know that today is called ‘Blue Monday’? This is the third Monday in January - so this year it’s January 16th. But where does this name come from?

Well, English is a very colourful, expressive language and we often use colours to describe our mood. Actually, colours are used in cultures all over the world, but they can have very different meanings in different countries so you have to be careful!

Here are 5 of the most popular colourful phrases we use here in the UK to express our feelings and emotions…


1. Blue

To feel blue means to feel sad or depressed.

Example: “She's been a bit blue since her boyfriend left her.”

‘Blue Monday’ was calculated to be the most depressing day of the year because of the cold weather, no more Christmas celebrations, and because some people already failing their New Year’s resolutions. But don’t worry - this was actually just created as a marketing trick by Sky Travel, to encourage people to book a holiday!

2. Pink

If you are tickled pink it means you are very pleased or happy about something.

Example: “I was tickled pink to be invited to the party.”

Pink is generally thought of as a happy and healthy colour. Plus, when you tickle someone, their face might turn pink and they’ll probably laugh a lot! So tickling is also associated with happiness.

3. Green

We say you are green with envy when you feel jealous.

Example: “George is going on holiday to Hawaii next week, and I'm green with envy.”

In many Western cultures, green is the colour of envy or jealousy. We even describe people who are very jealous as ‘the green-eyed monster’, a phrase which became popular after Shakespeare used it in his play Othello.

4. Red

To see red means to become extremely angry.

Example: "People who drop litter in the park really make me see red."

Although anger is the most common meaning, the colour red has a lot of other associations in English as well. It can also signify romance, passion, embarrassment, or even danger. What feelings come to mind when you think of red?

5. White

If someone turns white it means they are very scared or afraid.

Example: “Bianca turned white when she heard the news.”

When you’re afraid, your skin gets lighter because all the blood goes to your heart (so you can run faster if you need to escape!) This is where the phrase ‘to turn white’ comes from. For an even stronger phrase, you can say someone is ‘as white as a sheet’.


Congratulations - now that you can use these five colourful English phrases, you’re one step closer to sounding like a native speaker! Let us know how you’re feeling today in the comments.

And here’s something special to help you chase away any ‘Blue Monday’ feelings (and reach those New Year’s goals) …

Get 50% OFF YOUR FIRST MONTH when you join a Brighter English group course this January!

Try our £90 General English course for only £45…

Or join the Conversation Club for HALF PRICE - just £22.50 for your first month.

Now that’s a reason to be tickled pink!

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