Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
Every people has its own way of saying things, its own special expressions. Many everyday American expressions are based on colors.
Red is a hot color. Americans often use it to express heat. They may say they are red hot about something unfair. When they are red hot they are very angry about something. The small hot tasting peppers found in many Mexican foods are called red hots for their color and their fiery taste. Fast loud music is popular with many people. They may say the music is red hot, especially the kind called Dixieland jazz.
Pink is a lighter kind of red. People sometimes say they are in the pink when they are in good health. The expression was first used in America at the beginning of the twentieth century. It probably comes from the fact that many babies are born with a nice pink color that shows that they are in good health.
Blue is a cool color. The traditional blues music in the United States is the opposite of red hot music. Blues is slow, sad and soulful. Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded a famous song – Mood Indigo – about the deep blue color, indigo. In the words of the song: "You ain't been blue till you've had that Mood Indigo." Someone who is blue is very sad.
The color green is natural for trees and grass. But it is an unnatural color for humans. A person who has a sick feeling stomach may say she feels a little green. A passenger on a boat who is feeling very sick from high waves may look very green.
Sometimes a person may be upset because he does not have something as nice as a friend has, like a fast new car. That person may say he is green with envy. Some people are green with envy because a friend has more dollars or greenbacks. Dollars are called greenbacks because that is the color of the back side of the paper money.
The color black is used often in expressions. People describe a day in which everything goes wrong as a black day. The date of a major tragedy is remembered as a black day. A blacklist is illegal now. But at one time, some businesses refused to employ people who were on a blacklist for belonging to unpopular organizations.
In some cases, colors describe a situation. A brown out is an expression for a reduction in electric power. Brown outs happen when there is too much demand for electricity. The electric system is unable to offer all the power needed in an area. Black outs were common during World War Two. Officials would order all lights in a city turned off to make it difficult for enemy planes to find a target in the dark of night.
红色是一种火热的颜色。美国人经常用它来表达热的感觉，比如他们可能会说，对不公平的事情感到非常愤怒（red hot） 。许多墨西哥食物中含有的红色小辣椒由于其颜色和热辣口味被称为爆辣（red hots） 。很多人喜欢节奏又快又强的音乐，他们称为劲爆音乐，特别是那种被叫做迪斯科的爵士乐 。
粉色是一种淡红。有时，人们健康时会说自己in the pink 。这个短语于二十世纪初在美国被首度使用，这可能是来源于许多婴儿出生时都是健健康康的粉红皮肤 。
蓝色为冷色调。美国传统布鲁斯音乐(blues music)正好劲爆音乐（red hot music）截然相反 。布鲁斯舒缓、忧伤且深情款款 。艾灵顿公爵（Duke Ellington）与其乐队录制了一首著名的描述深蓝色的歌曲：Mood Indigo 。其中一句歌词是，“如果您没有真正忧伤过，你不会理解蓝色"（You ain’t been blue till you’ve had that Mood Indigo） 。 如果说一个人blue，就是说他处于忧伤之中 。
绿色是草木的本色，但是，对人来说，绿色则不寻常。胃难受的人可能会说她觉得不舒服（feels a little green） 。船客由于波浪大而晕船也会脸色发绿(look very green) 。
有时，一个人可能会因为没有朋友所拥有的美好事物而感觉烦躁，例如一辆崭新的车。这个人可能会说他妒忌生恨(green with envy) 。还有些人会嫉妒朋友比他有钱 。由于美钞背面是绿色的，被称为绿钞 。
黑色也常用于各种表达中。人们将诸事不顺的一天称为黑色日(black day) 。重大灾难日也被记念为黑色日 。现在黑名单(blacklist)为不合法的 。但过去一段时间，有的企业会拒绝雇佣黑名单上的人，因为他们属于某个不受欢迎的组织 。