15 Black Idioms in English With Meanings and Examples

Are you ready to delve into the rich tapestry of “Black Idioms” that add color to our conversations? From “the pot calling the kettle black” to “black sheep” of the family, these expressions paint our chats with strokes of mystery and intrigue.

So, whether you’re looking to spice up your dialogue or simply curious about the ebony-hued sayings that dot our language, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s turn the page and embark on a journey through the playful and profound world of “Black Idioms.” 

What are Black Idioms?

When we speak of “Black idioms,” we’re referring to phrases or expressions that hold particular meaning within the Black community or are widely used by English-speaking Black populations. These idioms are a rich part of Black cultural expression and are often reflective of the community’s shared experiences, history, and traditions.

Here’s a closer look at some examples and what they convey:

  • “Black swan event”: An unpredictable event that has significant consequences.
  • “Black sheep”: A member of a group who is considered the odd one out or the outcast.
  • “Black look”: A dirty or angry glance given to someone.

16 Black Idioms in English With Meanings and Examples Pin

List of Black Idioms 

Black sheep Black and blue
Black out Be in someone’s black book 
Blackball In the black
Black swan event To give someone a black look
Black-hearted Black comedy
The pot calling the kettle black Black and white
Black eye Black as nigh
Black hat hacker  

Black Idioms With Meaning, Usage, and Example

Black Sheep

  • Meaning: A member of a group, typically a family, who is considered odd or disreputable.
  • Usage: The term is often used to describe someone who is considered a troublemaker or someone who does not fit in with the rest of their community.
  • Example: Ever since he dropped out of school, Jake has been considered the black sheep of the family.

Black and Blue

  • Meaning: Covered in bruises.
  • Usage: This idiom is often used to describe someone who has been physically beaten or injured, resulting in bruising.
  • Example: After falling down the stairs, her arms were all black and blue.

Black Out

  • Meaning: To lose consciousness, or to erase something.
  • Usage: It can refer to a person fainting or temporarily losing their memory, or it can refer to censoring information.
  • Example: During the concert, she was so overwhelmed that she blacked out for a minute.


  • Meaning: To reject or exclude someone socially; to vote against admitting someone into a club or group.
  • Usage: This idiom is often associated with a secretive or unanimous vote to exclude someone.
  • Example: The club members decided to blackball the applicant due to his controversial reputation.

In the Black

  • Meaning: Being profitable or financially solvent.
  • Usage: The term is typically used in a business context to indicate that a company is making more money than it spends.
  • Example: After years of struggle, the company is finally in the black this quarter.

Black Swan Event

  • Meaning: An unexpected and highly significant event, often with profound consequences.
  • Usage: The term is used in economics and finance to describe an unpredictable event that goes beyond what is normally expected and has potentially severe ramifications.
  • Example: The financial crisis of 2008 is considered a black swan event that few predicted.

To Give Someone a Black Look

  • Meaning: To look at someone in a disapproving or angry way.
  • Usage: This idiom is used to describe the act of expressing one’s displeasure or hostility with a stern facial expression.
  • Example: When he arrived late for dinner, his mother gave him a black look.


  • Meaning: Describing someone wicked or cruel.
  • Usage: This term is used to describe a person’s character, indicating that they are malevolent or have ill intentions.
  • Example: The villain in the story was a black-hearted scoundrel who deceived everyone.

Black Comedy

  • Meaning: A genre of humor that makes light of subjects that are generally considered serious, taboo, or painful.
  • Usage: This term is used in entertainment and literature to describe a style of comedy that derives humor from the macabre or the uncomfortable.
  • Example: The film was a black comedy that dealt with themes of death and despair humorously.

Black Magic

  • Meaning: The use of supernatural powers for evil or selfish purposes.
  • Usage: The term is often associated with witchcraft, sorcery, and the occult.
  • Example: In many cultures, black magic is feared and shunned because it is believed to bring harm and misfortune.

Black and White

  • Meaning: Something very clear and easy to understand; a situation or issue that is seen as having only two sides or choices.
  • Usage: This idiom is often used to describe a situation where things are considered to be very clear-cut, without any grey areas or ambiguity.
  • Example: The contract terms were black and white, leaving no room for misunderstanding.

Black Eye

  • Meaning: A bruise around the eye resulting from an injury.
  • Usage: It can be used both literally, to describe the physical mark, or metaphorically, to describe damage to someone’s reputation or image.
  • Example: The company’s reputation suffered a black eye after the scandal went public.

Black as Night

  • Meaning: Extremely dark or black.
  • Usage: This idiom is used to describe something very dark, often used for dramatic or poetic effect.
  • Example: The cave was as black as night, and we couldn’t see without our flashlights.

Black Hat Hacker Meaning

  • Meaning: A black hat hacker is someone who violates computer security for personal gain or malicious reasons.
  • Usage: The term is commonly used in the field of cybersecurity to differentiate between hackers who have unethical intentions and those who hack for ethical reasons (white hat hackers).
  • Example: The company’s security system was breached by a black hat hacker who stole sensitive customer data.

Be in Someone’s Black Book Meaning

  • Meaning: To be in someone’s black book means to be in disfavor or trouble with them, often because of something one has done.
  • Usage: It is used to indicate that a person is not in good standing with another person or a group, typically due to a transgression or a series of negative actions.
  • Example: After messing up the last three orders, John found himself in the boss’s black book.

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black Meaning

  • Meaning: The phrase “the pot calling the kettle black” is used to accuse someone of hypocrisy because they are criticizing someone else for a fault that they possess.
  • Usage: It is often employed when someone is being self-righteous or accusing another person of something that they are equally guilty of.
  • Example: When the lazy student criticized his classmate for not doing the homework, the teacher said it was the pot calling the kettle black.

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Last Updated on December 4, 2023

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