Blue eyed and pink lying

Blue eyed and pink lying

Colours is frequently put to work in idiomatic use and with an interesting diversity of meaning. Around Europe the language is healthily vivid…

Purple seems to signify the consequences of excess …

ponerse morado (Spanish) to be full (of food) (lit. to become purple)
a fi vânăt (Romanian) to be bruised (lit. to be purple)
ficar roxo de raiva (Portuguese) to become enraged (lit. to turn purple with rage)
paars van de kou zien (Dutch) extremely cold (lit. purple from the cold)

Black naturally suggests a lack of hope:

scamall dubh (Irish) depression (lit. black cloud)
crni dani (Serbo-Croatian) hard times (lit. black days)
bheith dubh dóite (Irish) to be bored (lit. to be black-burnt)
umor nero (Italian) grumpiness, pessimism (lit. black mood)
czarna rozpacz (Polish) a state of great despair (lit. black despair)
kara kara düşünmek (Turkish) to brood (lit. think black black)
etwas schwarz malen (German) to have a pessimistic outlook (lit. to paint something black)
a coisa está preta! (Portuguese) the situation is hard to deal with (lit. the thing is black)

Whereas Brown also has a bleaker range of interpretations …

ze bruin bakken (Dutch) to brag or exaggerate (lit. to bake them brown)
imprensa marrom (Portuguese) the disreputable/tabloid press (lit. the brown press)
faire quelqu’un marron (French) to cheat on someone (lit. to make someone brown)
un médecin marron (French) a bad/poorly educated/fake doctor (quack) (lit. a brown doctor)
esto pasa de castaño oscuro (Spanish) this is beyond a joke (lit. this goes beyond dark brown)
comerse un marrón (Spanish) to be given unfair work or blame (lit. to eat a brown)
ciar (Scottish Gaelic) dusk, gloominess (lit. dark brown)

Yellow often translates for envy:

jaune d’envie (French) yellow (i.e. green) with envy
giallo d’invidia (Italian) very envious (lit. yellow with envy)
sárga az irigységtől (Estonian) very envious (lit. yellow with envy)
gelb vor Eifersucht werden (German) to become yellow with jealousy

Pink appears at least to offer some greater cheer …

pintarlo de color rosa (Spanish) to gild the lily, overdo it (lit. to paint it pink)
letteratura rosa (Italian) romantic fiction (lit. pink literature)
op een roze wolkje zitten (Dutch) to be (annoyingly) happy in love (lit. to sit on a little pink cloud)
de toekomst ziet er rooskleurig uit (Dutch) the future looks good, hopeful (lit. the future looks pink)
rózsaszín felhők (Estonian) unrealistic ideas (lit. pink clouds)
svæve på en lyserød (Danish) sky to be in love (lit. to float on a pink cloud)
pembe yalan (Turkish) a white lie, a “good” lie (lit. a pink lie)

Blue-eyed denotes either naivity or bruising:

at være blåøjet (Danish); sinisilmäinen (Finnish); blåøyd (Norwegian); blåögd (Swedish): Blauäugig sein (German) naïve, gullible (lit. to be blue-eyed)
ein blaues Auge haben (German) to have a bruised eye (lit. to have a blue eye)
blåveis / blått øye (Norwegian) a bruised eye (lit. a blue eye)
avoir un bleu (French) to have a bruise (lit. to have a blue)
blått öga (Swedish) black eye (blue eye)

While blue Mondays have separate interpretations:

blåmandag (Norwegian) an anticlimactic day after a good weekend (lit. a blue Monday)
blau machen (German) to take a day off (lit. to make blue)
blå mandag (Danish) an unauthorized day off from work or a celebratory day after church confirmation (lit. a blue Monday)
modré pondělí (Czech) blue Monday (i.e. a Monday taken as holiday after the weekend)
een blauwe maandag (Dutch) a short period of time (lit. a blue Monday)

Red can understandably be interpreted as both anger and passion and where that leads:

film a luci rosse (Italian) a red (i.e. blue) film
romanzo rosa (Italian) a pink (i.e. romantic) story
ffilm coch (Welsh) a film with sexual content (lit. a red film)
dearg-ghráin (Irish) deep-seated or intense hatred (lit. red hatred)
deargiomaíocht (Irish) cut-throat competition (lit. red rivalry)
gudh dearg (Irish) fury (lit. red rage)
brothall dearg (Irish) intense heat of day (lit. red swelter)
estar al rojo vivo (Spanish) to be at fever pitch (lit. to be at vivid red)
una pellicola rossa (Italian) an adult erotic film (lit. a red movie)
rødglødende (Norwegian) extremely passionate (lit. glowing in red)

And White, as one might expect, often translates as purity …

blanc comme neige (French) innocent (lit. white as snow)
poner la mente en blanco (Spanish) to clear your mind of thoughts (lit. to put your mind in white)
piu bianco non si puo (Italian) blameless, innocent (lit. more white you cannot)
eine weiße Weste haben (German) to be innocent (lit. to have a white vest)

Emma Tidey
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.