color expressions – les expressions de couleur

Have you ever wanted to learn French idioms and expressions with colors? Here you will find a complete and comprehensive list with English translations.
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BLEU BLUE

  • passer quelqu’un au bleu to brush something under the carpet
  • se faire avoir comme un bleu fall for something hook, line, and sinker
  • porter un bleu de travail to wear overalls
  • être un cordon-bleu to be a master chef
  • cuisson au bleu poaching (in cooking)
  • sang bleu aristocrat, posh person

ROUGE RED

  • avoir le nez rouge to drink too much
  • dérouler le tapis rouge à quelqu’un to roll out the red carpet to somebody
  • être dans le rouge to be in hot water
  • être la lanterne rouge to be at the bottom of the class
  • être rouge comme une tomate to turn beet red
  • être sur liste rouge to have an unlisted number
  • les comptes sont dans le rouge the accounts are in the red
  • Avoir la mémoire de poisson rouge to have a horrible memory

NOIR BLACK

  • avoir un œil au beurre noir to have a black eye
  • broyer du noir to feel depressed
  • c’est écrit noir sur blanc It’s written in black and white, very clear
  • darder un regard noir sur quelqu’un to give somebody a dirty look
  • jeter un regard noir à quelqu’un to give somebody a dirty look
  • être dans le noir to be in the dark, not know what to do
  • être noir de monde to be packed, full of people
  • avoir un œil au beurre noir to have a black eye, shiner
  • travailler au noir to not delcare your income
  • voir tout en noir to be negative, be pessimistic

BLANC WHITE

  • blanc comme un cachet d’aspirine to be white as a sheet, very pale
  • blanc comme un linge white as a sheet, as white as a sheet, very ill
  • être blanc comme neige pure as snow, very innocent
  • c’est bonnet blanc et blanc bonnet six of one and half a dozen of the other, the same thing
  • de but en blanc directly, point blank
  • donner un blanc-seing à quelqu’un to give somebody a blank check
  • être connu comme le loup blanc to be well known
  • faire chou blanc to draw a blank hit a wall
  • manger son pain blanc enjoy something while it lasts, to enjoy the time
  • parler dans le blanc des yeux to be upfront and speak frankly

VERT GREEN

  • avoir le feu vert to have a green light, a go-ahead
  • donner le feu vert à quelqu’un to give somebody the go-ahead
  • clôturer dans le vert to close in the green (stocks)
  • donner une volée de bois vert à quelqu’un to hit hard, thrash
  • être au vert to spend time in the country side
  • être vert de jalousie to be very jealous
  • gagné sur tapis vert to win (often sports game) by forfeit
  • mettre au vert to take somebody to the countryside
  • se mettre au vert to go on the run (from the police)
  • numéro vert toll-free number
  • recevoir une volée de bois vert to get reprimanded
  • vert de peur to be very scared
  • vert de rage to be extremely angry

ROSE PINK

  • à l’eau de rose sentimental, mushy
  • ça sent pas la rose it doesn’t smell good
  • être frais comme une rose to be as fit as a fiddle
  • téléphone rose adult chat line
  • Minitel rose adult chat line
  • roman à l’eau de rose romance novel
  • voir la vie en rose to see life through rose-tinted glasses
  • tout n’est pas rose it’s not ideal, a bed of roses
  • il n’y a pas de rose sans épines every rose has its thorn

MARRON BROWN

  • un avocat marron a crooked, dishonest lawyer
  • un marron runaway slave
  • un marron a punch, slug
It’s video time! Watch Pascal teacher some French color expressions.

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About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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