To Have a Blue Fear, to Give the Green Light and Other French Colourful Idioms

Some French expressions use colours to express different feelings like fear, anger, happiness or anxiety. Let’s take a look at some of the most used colourful idioms!

FR colors intext

Avoir une peur bleue: to be scared to death (literally ‘to have a blue fear’)

Etre un cordon bleu: to be a good cook

Etre fleur bleue: to be candid, naïve

Avoir la main verte: to have a gift for the gardening. English has an equivalent expression with ‘to have green fingers’ (UK), ‘to have a green thumb’ (US)

Se mettre au vert: to go to the countryside to have a break and to rest

Donner le feu vert: to give permission, to allow someone to do something

Voir la vie en rose: to be optimistic (literally ‘to see life in pink’)

Voir des éléphants roses: to be on drugs (literally ‘to see pink elephants’)

Voir rouge: to be angry (literally ‘to see red’)

Etre rouge comme une écrevisse: to turn red because of intense emotions

Etre dans le rouge: to be overdrawn

Faire travailler sa matière grise: to think (la matière grise refers to the brain)

Broyer du noir: to have negative thoughts

Noir de monde: crowded

Se faire des cheveux blancs: to worry about something

Passer une nuit blanche: to spend a sleepless night


 Try our quiz to learn some more French expressions!


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