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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