The song Blue, by the Italian music group "Eiffel 65," was a super popular song in the late 1990s. So why do they sing about a color so much? Let's talk about the way blue is used in English, including some blue idioms.
In the United States, blue is a color that is often used to symbolize sadness. You can say "he looks blue. I wonder what happened." (meaning: He looks sad or depressed). Also, there is a type of music called "the blues" which involves singing about sad things.
What about in your country? Does blue symbolize anything?
Blue, however, is also used in other idioms in English. Let's take a look at some common blue idioms.
until you are blue in the face
once in a blue moon
men in blue
out of the clear blue sky
Do you know what these blue idioms mean? I'll go through them at the end of the lesson, giving you some examples of when you can use them.
Now take a listen to the song. Had you heard it before? What do you think about it?
What do these blue idioms mean?
blue collar - from the working class (used to denote someone who does manual labor, as opposed to working in an office)
I prefer to work in a blue collar job. Working in an office all day without using my body would be quite boring.
until you are blue in the face - for a long time (often without any results)
You can tell him about the dangers of smoking until you are blue in the face, but I doubt he will quit.
once in a blue moon - very rarely
I don't drink wine regularly, but once in a blue moon I will have a glass of red wine with a nice steak.
blue blood - of noble or aristocratic ancestry
Even though he is a blue blood, most of his friends are normal people of normal backgrounds.
men in blue - the police (police officers in the US often wear blue uniforms)
Here come the men in blue. We gotta run!
out of the clear blue sky - unexpectedly
We had only been dating two months when he proposed to me out of the clear blue sky. That was way too quick, so I said "no."
Like most idioms, you don't have to use them. There are simpler ways to explain things. However, other people might use them, so understanding what they mean is quite important.
What should you do if someone uses an idiom that you don't understand? Simply ask them what it means. For example "What do you mean by 'blue in the face'?" If the person is friendly, they will explain it in a different way so you can understand that they mean.
All the Songs!