to show your true colours to behave in a way that shows what sort of person you really are, especially if it is unpleasant Adam showed his true colours when he kept the wallet that he found. I think we might see Rob’s true colours when we tell him that he’s going to lose his job, I’m sure he’ll be very angry.
to be off colour to be feeling ill, usually just a little bit ill I’ve been feeling a bit off colour since I ate that fish, I hope it was okay. The doctor told me to expect to feel a little off colour for a few days after I have the operation.
to nail your colours to the mast to make it clear to others what your plans or opinions are I know you don’t like your boss, but you probably shouldn’t nail your colours to the mast quite so much. Chris has nailed his colours to the mast about what he thinks of Jane.
black and white used to describe a situation in which it is clear whether something is good or bad, or right or wrong, it is often used with ‘see’ I see it as quite black and white, Ben is the best choice, let’s give the job to him. Blame for the Ann and Dan’s divorce was very black and white for a lot of people but I saw it as more complicated than that.
to see something in shades of grey to believe that a situation should not be seen as black and white because it is complicated I don’t think it was completely Dan’s fault, I think you should see it in shades of grey. At the time, I saw it in shades of grey, but actually, I think it’s much more black and white than that.
colourful language bad language (swearing) I’m careful about what I watch on television when my son is around because I don’t want him to learn any colourful language. If a film has too much colourful language, only adults are allowed into the cinema.
a grey area a subject that not much is known about Although I can play the guitar, a lot of music theory is a grey area for me. History is one of his grey areas, but he did a good job of explaining how the war started.
to do something with flying colours to succeed easily because you have done something extremely well He passed the exam with flying colours. If you want to win the race with flying colours, you’ll have to study really hard.