Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green

Hello English learners. Welcome to a new lesson. We will learn some green idioms and different ways of using the word green as a noun, verb, etc.

Did you know that fruit and vegetables that are not ripe yet are called green?

  • Put those green bananas on the table. We’ll eat get when they are ripe.

Many people call their vegetables “greens”.

  • Make sure you eat enough greens every day.

In the United States, green refers to money, so you’ll often hear that people “give green” to buy something or call money “green paper” or “green stuff”. Besides, we can not imagine talking about the environment without using the word green nowadays. Green is not just a colour any more as it refers to the things people do to protect the environment. We can talk about how much green some people are because they recycle, cycle to work and are environmentally conscious.

  • My neighbour is so green. She recycles 80% of her waste and never eats meat.
  • Sweden is one of the greenest countries in the world because they’ve reduced carbon emissions and limited pollution.
  • They built a new stadium with green intentions in mind.
Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green
Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green

Here, green can also be a verb and it means being environmentally friendly.

  • They are trying to green their building projects so that a big company accepts to sign a contract with them.
  • More and more young people are going green these days.

We can also say that someone who isn’t very experienced at his/her new job is green.

  • Martin is still a bit green but he’s on a steep learning curve. He’ll catch up soon.

Also: a naive person.

  • Adam is a serious mature person though he’s still a bit green when it comes to politics.

Idioms and expressions using green

Here are 11 idioms and phrases using the word green:

  1. Village green
  2. Green around the gills
  3. Green with envy
  4. Have green fingers
  5. Have a green thumb
  6. Green-collar worker
  7. The rub of the green
  8. The green-eyed monster
  9. Give/get the green light
  10. Putting green
  11. Where on god’s green earth

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Village green

The village green is a piece of grassy land surrounded by a plot usually in the centre of the village.

  • The children were playing in the village green while the adults were sitting around and chatting.
  • Go along this road, past the village green and turn left.
Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green
Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green

Green around the gills

The person who looks green around the gills looks ill or pale.

  • Mark looked a bit green around the gills while they were driving over the bumpy road.
  • After two sleepless nights, Lucy looked green around the gills and had shadows under her eyes.

Green with envy

People who are green with envy are very angry because they can not have something you have.

  • Key was green with envy when she saw the new Mercedes her friend was driving.
  • When Patrick was promoted into a manager his colleagues went green with envy.
  • Don’t wear that dress unless you want to make all the women in the club green with envy.

Have green fingers

If somebody has green fingers, they are skilled gardeners and their plants grow very well.

  • Rob’s grandma had green fingers. She could grow anything.
  • Although he wasn’t the best cook in the world one could say that he had green fingers.

Have a green thumb

This is a similar expression. If you have a green thumb, you are very good at gardening 

  • A beautiful garden requires a lot of patience and a green thumb, of course.

Green-collar worker

You’ve probably heard of blue-collar workers who are manual workers such as drivers, factory workers, etc and white-collar workers who are usually employed in offices. A green-collar worker is someone who works in the environmental sector.

  • More and more people are learning how to work in the green-collar world.
  • Have you ever considered having a career as a green-collar worker?
Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green
Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green

The rub of the green

You will hear this expression when you listen to sports commentators. In fact, it refers to good luck.

  • If our team keeps the same result and gets the rub of the green, we will be champions.
  • You will need the rub of the green to get this job.

The green-eyed monster

The expression green-eyed monster refers to jealousy.

  • Helen was very jealous of her husband but she managed to keep the green-eyed monster under control most of the time.
  • Men and women experience green-eyed monster differently.

Give/get the green light 

To give the green light to someone means to give them permission to do something.

  • The government gave the green light for building the shopping mall in this area.
  • If Mum gives the green light, we will go to Disneyland. Isn’t that great?!

And vice versa – if you get the green light, you receive permission to do something.

  • The project is ready, we just need to get the green light from the manager to start implementing it.

Putting green

This idiom is typically used in golf and it refers to a small grass area where golf players can hit the balls.

  • There was no one left in the golf court, just a lady practising on the putting green.

Where on god’s green earth

You can use the expression “where on god’s green earth” as an emphatic way to make a question.

  • Where on god’s green earth did you buy those funny shoes?

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Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green
Green Idioms and Ways of Using the Word Green

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