Black Idioms

Black! Another interesting and unique article in English-learners ! Here are the most useful and common English idioms begin with the word “BLACK”.  Hope to enjoy!

black as a skillet

black as a stack of black cats

black as a sweep;

black as coal;

black as night;

black as pitch;

black as the ace of spades

Meaning:
completely dark or black. (*Also: as ~.)

Examples:

-I don’t want to go down to the cellar. It’s as black as a skillet down there.

-Her hair was black as a stack of black cats.

-After playing in the mud all morning, the children were as black as night.

-The stranger’s clothes were all black as pitch.


black as one is painted

Meaning:

as evil as described. (Usually negative. *Also: as ~.)

Examples:


-The landlord is not as black as he is painted. He seems quite generous to me.

-Young people are rarely black as they are painted in the media.

black mark beside one’s name

Meaning:

Fig. something negative associated with a person. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give one ~.)

Example:

-I did it again! Now I’ve got still another black mark beside my name!

in black and white
Meaning:

Fig. [of an agreement, contract, or statement] official, in writing or printing. (*Typically: be ~; get something ~.)

Example:

-I have it in black and white that I’m entitled to three weeks of vacation each year.

black something out

Meaning:

1. Lit. to cut or turn out the lights or electric power. The lightning strike blacked the entire town out.

Example:

-The manager blacked out the whole building during the emergency to prevent an explosion.

Meaning:

2. Fig. to prevent the broadcast of a specific television or radio program in a specific area.

Example:

-Will they black the game out around here? They blacked out the basketball game in this area.

black eye

Meaning:

1. Lit. a bruise near the eye from being struck. (*Typically have ~; get ~; give someone ~.)

Example:

-I got a black eye from walking into a door. I have a black eye where John hit me.

Meaning:

2. Fig. harm done to one’s character. (*Typically have ~; get ~; give someone ~.)

Example:

-Mary got a black eye because of her constant complaining. The whole group now has a black eye, and it will take years to recover our reputation.

black out

Meaning:

1. Lit. [for lights] to go out.

Example:

– Suddenly the lights blacked out. The power went dead and everything blacked out from the heat.

Meaning:

2. Fig. to pass out; to become unconscious.

Example:

– After I fell, I must have blacked out. I think I am going to black out.

black sheep of the familyblack-sheep

Meaning:

Fig. the worst member of the family.

Examples:

– Mary is the black sheep of the family. She’s always in trouble with the police.

– He keeps making a nuisance of himself. What do you expect from the black sheep of the family?

black-and-blue

Meaning:

Fig. bruised, physically or emotionally.

Example:

– I’m still black-and-blue from my divorce. What is that black-and-blue mark on your leg?

Example:

– devil is not so black as he is painted

NOTE:

– Prov. No one is as bad as people say he is. (Implies that people are saying too many bad things about someone.)

Example:

– I can’t believe that actress is as coldhearted as the gossip columns say she is. The devil is not so black as he is painted.

in the black

Meaning:

Fig. not in debt; in a financially profitable condition. (As opposed to in the red.)

Example:

– I wish my accounts were in the black. Sally moved the company into the black.

pot is calling the kettle black and that’s the pot calling the kettle black

Meaning: pot-calling-the-kettle-black

Prov. You should not criticize someone for a fault that you have too. (Not polite to say about the person you are addressing.)

Examples:

– Bill told Barbara she was sloppy, but Bill never cleans up after himself, either. That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

– My sister says I dress funny, but if you’ve seen some of the clothes she wears, you know it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

put something down in black and white and set something down in black and white

Meaning:

Fig. to write down the terms of an agreement; to draw up a written contract; to put the details of something down on paper. (Alludes to black ink and white paper.)

Example:

– We agree on all the major points. Now, let’s set it down in black and white. I think I understand what you are talking about, but we need to put down the details in black and white.

not be as black as you are/it is painted

Meaning:

If people or situations are not as black as they are painted, they are not as bad as people say they are.

Example:

– I’ve met him a few times. He’s not as black as he’s painted.

a black mark

Meaning:

If you get a black mark, people think that something you have done is bad and they will remember it in future This administrative error will be a black mark on his record. (often + against )

Example:

– If I’m late for work it’ll be another black mark against me.

pretend/say that black is white

Meaning:

to say the opposite of what is really true.

Example:

– She’ll say that black is white if she thinks it’s to her advantage.

pitch black

Meaning:

very black; as black as pitch.

Example:

– The hearse was pitch black. The bandit rode on a pitch black horse and wore black clothing.

in the black

Meaning:

In a situation in which you are earning more money than you are spending.

Example:

– Some states have legalized gambling as a way to put their finances in the black.

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