Colored Perceptions

Legends about word and phrases derived from colors.

Many common terms and phrases derive from color-related words. And just as our perceptions are sometimes "colored," so are our explanations for some of our more colorful phrases.

Red bullet The White House obtained its name because it was repainted white after the British burned it in 1814.

Red bullet American blue laws were so named because they were originally printed on blue paper.

Yellow bullet Companies used to dismiss employees by distributing notices printed on pink slips of paper.

Yellow bullet Red light district comes from the practice of railway brakemen leaving their lanterns on cathouse porches.

Red bullet Blackmail is so designated because letters of extortion were sent by mail.

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