gray


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Related to gray: Gray code, gray matter

get gray hair from (someone or something)

To be exceedingly worried, stressed, or upset by or about something or someone. I'm getting gray hair from these kids screaming all day long. I'm going to get gray hair from my teenage daughter and all her wild behavior. I'm going to get gray hair from dealing with this stupid car breaking down all the time!
See also: get, gray, hair

the grey pound

The economic purchasing power of elderly people as a group. Primarily heard in UK. As the baby-boom generation enters old age, many different markets are trying to capitalize on the burgeoning influence of the grey pound.
See also: grey, pound

the gray dollar

The economic purchasing power of elderly people as a group. Primarily heard in US. As the baby-boom generation enters old age, many different markets are trying to capitalize on the burgeoning influence of the gray dollar.
See also: dollar, gray

all cats are grey at night

In the dark of night, appearances do not matter (because it is so difficult to see anything). A: "I can't believe you're going on a date with someone you've never met before! What if you don't think he's attractive?" B: "Ah, all cats are grey at night, so it will be fine."
See also: all, cat, grey, night

all cats are grey by night

In the dark of night, appearances do not matter (because it is so difficult to see anything). A: "I can't believe you're going on a date with someone you've never met before! What if you don't think he's attractive?" B: "Ah, all cats are grey by night, so it will be fine."
See also: all, cat, grey, night

grey area

A concept or topic that is not clearly defined or that exists somewhere between two extreme positions. Primarily heard in Australia. There's a large grey area regarding whether the use of the new surveillance technology is lawful.
See also: area, grey

grey amber

Another term for ambergris, a waxy substance excreted by sperm whales and used as a fixative, especially in the preparation of perfumes. The large chunk of grey amber that washed ashore is worth more than gold!
See also: amber, grey

grey power

The influence exerted by the elderly people in an organization, community, etc. When I decided to run for office, I knew that grey power would be an important factor in the election and that I needed to rally support from the elderly.
See also: grey, power

All cats are gray in the dark.

Prov. When in the dark, appearances are meaningless, since everything is hard to see or unseen. I don't care if my date is ugly. All cats are gray in the dark.
See also: all, cat, dark, gray

(a) gray area

Fig. an area of a subject or question that is difficult to put into a particular category because it is not clearly defined and may have connections or associations with more than one category. The responsibility for social studies in the college is a gray area. Several departments are involved. Publicity is a gray area in that firm. It is shared between the marketing and design divisions.
See also: area, gray

*gray hair(s)

 
1. Lit. a lightening of the hair caused by aging or hereditary factors. (*Typically: get ~ have ~ give someone ∼.) I get more gray hair the older I get. I guess my genes give me gray hair.
2. Fig. a lightening of the hair caused by stress or frustration. (*Typically: get ~ have ~ give someone ∼.) I'm getting gray hairs because I have three teenage boys. I have gray hair from raising four kids.
See also: gray, hair

gray matter

Fig. intelligence; brains; power of thought. Use your gray matter and think what will happen if the committee resigns. Surely they'll come up with an acceptable solution if they use some gray matter.
See also: gray, matter

a grey area

  (British & Australian) also a gray area (American)
a subject or problem that people do not know how to deal with because there are no clear rules The legal difference between negligence and recklessness is a bit of a grey area.
See also: area, grey

grey matter

  (British & Australian humorous) also gray matter (American humorous)
your intelligence It's an entertaining film but it doesn't exactly stimulate the old grey matter.
See also: grey, matter

get gray hair from

Be very worried or upset by. For example, I know I'm going to get gray hair from his driving. Similarly, give gray hair to means "to worry someone," as in The boy's love of rock climbing gave his parents gray hair. This idiom alludes to the notion that extreme anxiety or grief can cause one's hair to turn gray. [Early 1600s]
See also: get, gray, hair

gray area

Indeterminate territory, undefined position, neither here nor there. For example, There's a large gray area between what is legal and what is not. This term, which uses gray in the sense of "neither black nor white" (or halfway between the two), dates only from the mid-1900s.
See also: area, gray

gray matter

Brains, intellect, as in If you'd only use your gray matter, you'd see the answer in a minute. This expression refers to actual brain tissue that is gray in color. Agatha Christie's fictional detective, Hercule Poirot, constantly alludes to using the little gray cells for solving a crime. [Late 1800s]
See also: gray, matter

Dorian Gray

Someone who never appears to age. In his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde told the story of the title character who made a Faustian arrangement with an artist to paint his portrait, the proviso being that Gray would not age, but the face in his painting would. As with such pacts, Gray lived to rue it. It didn't take long before “Dorian Gray” was applied to anyone who showed no signs of aging. If, for example, after ten or twenty years you met a long-lost friend who looked much the same as when you last saw him or her, you would acknowledge that miracle as “Hey, it's Dorian Gray.” And if your friend recognized the allusion, the reply was likely to be, “Yeah, but you should see the painting in my attic.”
See also: gray

the old gray mare

The passage of time. A folk song attributed to Stephen Foster and supposedly referring to a 19th-century harness-racing horse named Lady Suffolk begins, “Oh, the old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be . . . Many long years ago.” Unkind people used the image to refer women “of a certain age” (or older), although when used by themselves about themselves, it has an air of self-deprecating resignation. For example, a middle-aged woman who leaves the dance floor short of breath after a vigorous jitterbug may wipe her brow, reach for a cold drink, and exclaim, “The old gray mare ain't what she used to be.”
See also: gray, mare, old
References in classic literature ?
Gray to wait, Parker: I shall be in in a few moments.
Have no fear," said Gray Brother, licking his lips a little.
He swam far down the Waingunga to cut that off," said Gray Brother.
When all the evidence in the various Gray lawsuits is sifted out, there appear to have been three distinctly different Grays: first, Gray the SCOFFER, who examined Bell's telephone at the Centennial and said it was "nothing but the old lover's telegraph.
There are no Gray telephones in use in any country.
This is better than any kill," said Gray Brother, as Buldeo stooped and peered and puffed.
said Gray Brother, looking hungrily after the brown backs of the charcoal-burners.
The whole steep slope was covered with gray circular rings of stone, a score of them at least.
His gray clothes and jerky, zigzag, irregular progress made him not unlike some huge moth himself.
It was one of those rare afternoons when all the thickness and shadow of London are changed to a kind of shining, pulsing, special atmosphere; when the smoky vapors become fluttering golden clouds, nacreous veils of pink and amber; when all that bleakness of gray stone and dullness of dirty brick trembles in aureate light, and all the roofs and spires, and one great dome, are floated in golden haze.
She thrust her little chin out defiantly over her gray fur collar, and Bartley looked down at her and laughed.
And when the red sunlight of a fair October dawn was shining over the gray sea The Fair Lady sailed out of Charlottetown harbour.
Lady Janet's nephew is Julian Gray," she repeated; "and I only know it now
Lacking the money for the large expenditure required in the study of law, Gray took up his residence in the college buildings at Cambridge, where he lived as a recluse, much annoyed by the noisy undergraduates.
A great deal more of what the gentleman with the gray whiskers said to show in what way Russia was ruined by the emancipation struck him indeed as very true, new to him, and quite incontestable.