Know Your Colour Code

Here at EuroTalk we love discovering interesting facts about the world around us, so from now on, on the third Wednesday of each month (or thereabouts!) we’ll be sharing some of these with you. The theme for this month is colours…

Be a man: be yellow

If you call someone ‘yellow’ in England, you’re calling them a coward. In Japan, the opposite is true; yellow is the colour of courage, and while Westerners usually see pink as a feminine colour, in Japan it’s very masculine; it conjures up the memory of fallen samurai.

Poison pen

Poisoned Pens

In China, writing someone’s name in red is unlucky and it usually means you want to cut them out of your life; just make sure you don’t have red ink on your hands if something bad happens to them!

Feeling blue? You’ll regret it in the morning…

In English it’s fairly common to say you’re ‘feeling blue’ if you feel sad. But in Germany, to be blue (‘blau sein’) is to be drunk.

White: it’s the new black

Weddings in the West are all decked out in white, but the same is not true of China, where white is the colour of mourning. Instead, brides wear red, as the colour symbolises good luck.

Black cat - lucky or not?

Purr-fect Opposites

In many cultures, a black cat is seen as lucky: in Japan, it’s believed to attract suitors, and in Scotland a cat arriving at your home is a sign of prosperity coming your way. But in America, the same animal is considered bad luck, particularly by gamblers on their way to the casino.

Colourful Confrontations

Useful information if you find yourself in a fight in Europe… In English, the result might be known as a ‘black eye’, whereas in Germany it’s blue (‘blaues Auge’), in Spain it’s purple (‘ojo morado’) and in France it’s known as an ‘oeil au beurre noir’ (literally ‘eye in black butter’)!

If anyone has any other examples of colour-related facts, we’d love to hear them!


2 thoughts on “Know Your Colour Code”

  1. Hello,

    Before I add what I know about your article, I have to say that I have just discovered your blog and it’s soooo awesome, I can’t describe it with words 😀 You are doing great work, and the more I read, the more I admire your blog, because I’m a language lover too!
    This article reminded me of a text with the same content in my school coursebook of English which contains some of your examples and I would like to add some more from it.
    In Japan, a white carnation symbolises death.
    In India it is believed that a married woman dressed in all white is inviting death and unhappiness.
    Also as you said in China red is the color of good luck and prosperity, so when Chinese give gifts of money on special occasions, they usually put the money in a red envelope. In addition, in China yellow color represents royalty.
    Green color is a lucky color in Ireland.
    An alternative expression of “The Prince Charming” is “El Principe Azul” in Spanish and “Il Principe Azzurro” in Italian and they both literally mean “The Blue Prince”.
    That’s all from me, I hope you like my color-related facts ^_~



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