colour


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Related to colour: colour TV, Colour codes

give color to (something)

1. To add flourish or provide an interesting accompaniment to something. Idioms and metaphors are just some of the things that give color to language.
2. To embellish or exaggerate something so as to give it the appearance of truth, credibility, or plausibility. The defendant even bought used tickets to give color to his story of being at the opera when the murder took place.
See also: color, give

come through (something) with flying colors

To win, achieve, or accomplish something exceptionally well or very successfully. Said especially of a test, examination, or training of some kind. Primarily heard in US. Samantha was rather nervous taking her final exam, but she came through with flying colors! Your brother has come through his apprenticeship with flying colors. He'll be a master builder in no time!
See also: color, come, flying, through

pass (something) with flying colours

To win, achieve, or accomplish something exceptionally well or very successfully. Said especially of a test, examination, or training of some kind. Primarily heard in UK. Samantha was rather nervous taking her final exam, but she passed with flying colours! Your brother passed his apprenticeship with flying colours. He'll be a master builder in no time!
See also: colour, flying, pass

(one's) true colours

One's true or honest beliefs, thoughts, convictions, biases, desires, etc.; one's real personality, character, or disposition. Primarily heard in UK. Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he showed his true colours once he realised that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. You will really see your friends' true colours when you call upon them in a time of crisis.
See also: colour, true

reveal (one's) (true) colors

To reveal what one really believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one's real personality, character, or disposition. Primarily heard in US. Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he revealed his true colors once he realized that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. It's only in times of crisis that your friends will really reveal their colors.
See also: color, reveal

show (one's) (true) colours

To reveal what one really believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one's real personality, character, or disposition. Primarily heard in UK. Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he showed his true colours once he realised that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. It's only in times of crisis that your friends will really show their colours.
See also: colour, show

under false colors

Using or under the guise of false pretenses, so as to deceive someone or to hide one's true nature or intentions. (An allusion to the identifying flags of a ship, and so usually used in the phrase "sail under false colors.") Primarily heard in US. Tim thought he could just put on fancy clothes and rub elbows with the upper crust that Janet's family socialized with, but everyone at the party knew he was sailing under false colors. I don't want to be accused of flying under false colors, so let me say straight away that I'm being paid to give a review of this product today.
See also: color, false

be off-color

To be rude or vulgar; to be likely to offend others, especially due to being sexually explicit or suggestive. A: "What did you think of the awards ceremony last night?" B: "The presenter's jokes were a bit too off-color for my taste."

nail (one's) colours to the mast

To refuse to cease or surrender. Because lowering a ship's flag was a customary indication of surrender, this nautical phrase emphasizes the resolve of a ship's crew. We will nail our colours to the mast and fight on—they will never capture us! We're going to have a tough time beating this team now that they are playing with such determination. I fear they've nailed their colours to the mast.
See also: colour, mast, nail

off-colour

Pertaining to sex in a lewd or offensive manner. Primarily heard in UK, Canada. Every Christmas, my uncle has a bit too much to drink and starts telling off-colour jokes in front of the kids and grandparents.

show (someone) in (their) true colours

To reveal what someone really believes, thinks, or wants, or the true nature or strength of their character. (Usually, but not always, used in reference to someone with bad or unpleasant beliefs, desires, or characteristics.) The undercover journalist secretly filmed her meeting with the CEO, showing him in his true colours as a money-hungry snake with no regard for the law. The defendant's attorneys brought in a multitude of character witnesses to show her in her true colours: a kind, compassionate woman with no motive for revenge.
See also: colour, show, true

see the color of (one's) money

To view the money that one will pay with in order to verify that they have it. Sure I trust you—but I still want to see the color of your money so I know you're good for it.
See also: color, money, of, see

sail under false colors

 
1. Lit. to sail with false identification. (Pirates often sailed under the national flag of the ship they planned on attacking.) The ship, sailing under false colors, suddenly started to pursue our ship. Bluebeard the pirate was known for sailing under false colors.
2. Fig. to function deceptively. You are not who you seem to be. You are sailing under false colors. Tom was sailing under false colors and finally got found out.
See also: color, false, sail

color of someone's money, see the

Prove that you can pay, as in Before we talk any more about this car, let's see the color of your money. This term probably originated in gambling or betting. [Slang; early 1900s]
See also: color, of, see

sail under false colors

see under false colors.
See also: color, false, sail

with flying colors, pass with

Also, come through with flying colors. Win, succeed, as in She came through the bar exam with flying colors. This expression alludes to a victorious ship sailing with its flags high. [Late 1600s]
See also: flying, pass

the colour of someone's money

If you want to see the colour of someone's money, you want proof that they can pay for something, usually because you doubt that they are able to. Note: `Colour' is spelled `color' in American English. Then he ordered another drink and I said to him: `Let's see the colour of your money.' I thought he wouldn't have any. He made a mental note never to enter into conversation with a customer until he'd at least seen the colour of his money.
See also: colour, money, of

be sailing under false colours

BRITISH
If someone or something is sailing under false colours, they are deliberately deceiving people. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. This report sails under false colours. It claims to be a fair and rigorous examination of the issue, but it is no such thing. Note: When pirate ships spotted a treasure ship, they often took down their own flag and raised the flag of a friendly nation, in order to get close enough to the ship to attack it.
See also: colour, false, sailing

nail your colours to the mast

BRITISH, JOURNALISM
1. If you nail your colours to the mast, you state your opinions or beliefs about something clearly and publicly. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. Let me nail my colours to the mast straightaway. I both like and admire him immensely.
2. If you nail your colours to the mast, you say clearly and publicly that you support a particular person, idea, or theory. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. In the Thatcher years, the young MP nailed his colours to Mrs T's mast more firmly than most. This was the moment he nailed his colours to the mast of Social Security reform. Note: Battleships used to lower their colours to show that they were surrendering. Sometimes the colours were nailed to the mast as a sign of determination to fight to the end.
See also: colour, mast, nail

show your true colours

COMMON If someone shows their true colours, they show their real character, often when this is bad. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. Someone I had trusted now showed her true colours. Note: Verbs such as declare and reveal are sometimes used instead of show. Three months into the relationship, Rogers began to reveal his true colours. Note: You can also see someone in their true colours. The children started seeing him in his true colours for the first. Note: Once a pirate ship had got close to a treasure ship by `sailing under false colours', it then revealed its true identity by raising its own flag.
See also: colour, show, true

with flying colours

COMMON If you achieve something, such as passing an examination, with flying colours, you achieve it easily and are very successful. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. She passed the entrance exam with flying colors. Note: The image here is of a victorious battleship sailing back into port with its national flag flying.
See also: colour, flying
References in classic literature ?
The dominant colour was grey, and yet there was to it a faint reddish hue--a hue that was baffling, that appeared and disappeared, that was more like an illusion of the vision, now grey, distinctly grey, and again giving hints and glints of a vague redness of colour not classifiable in terms of ordinary experience.
Golden brown, just the colour of a molasses cooky," laughed the Story Girl.
Why, I always supposed everyone thought in colours.
But was the colour a lacquer of heat upon some familiar metal?
Down the spiral path of the pit they bore him, encircling the sheening, glowing Red One that seemed ever imminent to iridesce from colour and light into sweet singing and thunder.
Bassett, with his own eyes, saw colour and colours transform into sound till the whole visible surface of the vast sphere was a-crawl and titillant and vaporous with what he could not tell was colour or was sound.
See how different the leaves of the cabbage are, and how extremely alike the flowers; how unlike the flowers of the heartsease are, and how alike the leaves; how much the fruit of the different kinds of gooseberries differ in size, colour, shape, and hairiness, and yet the flowers present very slight differences.
From passages in Genesis, it is clear that the colour of domestic animals was at that early period attended to.
This sea-slug is about five inches long; and is of a dirty yellowish colour veined with purple.
These animals also escape detection by a very extraordinary, chameleon-like power of changing their colour.
When I see a patch of colour, it seemed to me that the colour is not psychical, but physical, while my seeing is not physical, but psychical.
It is generally believed that we cannot imagine a shade of colour that we have never seen, or a sound that we have never heard.
His beardless face was thin, worn, and transparently pale, but not wrinkled; his nose was high and hooked; his eyes were of a dim greyish blue, large, prominent, and rather red round the rims of the eyelids; his hair was scanty, soft to look at, and of that light sandy colour which is the last to disclose its own changes towards grey.
Fascination wished to know if the colour were not called rose- colour?
She says,' replied Mr Lammle, interpreting for her, 'that in her eyes you look well in any colour, Sophronia, and that if she had expected to be embarrassed by so pretty a compliment as she has received, she would have worn another colour herself.