Colour idioms: green

This is part 2 of the series of blog posts about colour idioms. Last time, we had a look at some red idioms, and today we’ll explore those that mention the colour green.

Image by Public Domain Pictures from Pixabay

Let’s start with have green fingers. This idiomatic expression has nothing to do with Shrek and everything to do with one of the favourite pastimes of British people – gardening. When someone says that you have green fingers, they mean you’re very good at gardening – everything you plant grows and thrives and whether you have a proper garden or just a few planters (a container for growing plants in) outside your window they look healthy and attractive.

My gran had green fingers. Her vegetable garden was her pride and joy and the envy of the neighbours.

Green is traditionally associated with jealousy, which is reflected in the next two idioms.

To be green with envy means to be very jealous of another person, wishing you had something they have.

Paula turned green with envy when she saw my new Louis Viutton handbag.

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

This idiomatic expression probably prompted William Shakespeare to coin the phrase the green-eyed monster that he first used in Othello to refer to jealousy. This idiom’s often used humorously.

She tries really hard to keep the green-eyed monster at bay but it’s no secret she’s really jealous of her more successful sister.

Image by Alberto Cabello from Pixabay

The last idiom may well have an equivalent in your native language (it does in my mother tongue) as the idea is universal. Just like the green light of traffic lights gives drivers or pedestrians permission to go, if you give someone or something the green light you give them permission to do something or to happen. You can also use the verb green-light with the same meaning.

We can’t start work until the project’s got the green light from the council.

Due to the uncertainty of the situation, we find it impossible to green-light such a high-risk project.

Hope you found this post useful. Next time we’ll look at some blue idioms.

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