Idioms with the colour “green”, vocabulary B2/C1

Fields and forests are green. Some people have green eyes or wear green clothes. My favourite colour is green. But when is green not green?

Let’s look at some idioms with green.

1. Green with envy / the green-eyed monster

I am sure that at times you go green with envy when the green-eyed monster makes an appearance. What does that mean?

In this context, the colour green is a synonym for envy. So, if you go green with envy, maybe you see a friend with the latest iPhone and you would like one too but cannot afford it. In this case, the green-eyed monster (the envy inside you) comes out and makes you go green with envy.

2. Green behind your ears

If you are green behind your ears, you don’t need to shower and wash. It doesn’t mean that you are dirty behind your ears. It means that you believe things that are clearly not true. You are “gullible” and trust others too much.

3. The grass is greener

We know that grass is green, but how can it be greener? Does that happen after it has rained? No, this idiom has nothing to do with rain, it has to do with envy.

When we compare ourselves to others, we often think that other people are in a better situation than we are. We think they are luckier than us and we would like to be in their situation instead of our own.

Imagine that you have a garden and your neighbour also has a garden. We can feel envious because their garden looks nicer than ours as though the grass is greener in our neighbour’s garden. Of course, the grass is the same but we get the impression that it’s greener, so we are envious, without any real reason to be envious.

Probably, if we lived in the other house, we would think that the grass in our current garden is greener. We always want what someone else has, even though we find out that it wasn’t better if we actually get it.

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