The Spanish Language Blog

Of all the colors, black is one of the most special.

It’s a color with its own personality, a color whose mere presence can carry a lot of meaning. In fact, in many Western cultures, black represents death and negative feelings. It’s the color most commonly used in funerals and times of mourning.

Black is actually the absence of other colors; in space it is the absence of light. It is the color of night and nothingness.

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That’s why when you hear a Spanish expression that mentions the color black, it’s usually not a good thing.

For example, one common saying is that a person me está poniendo negro (is making me turn black). If someone is making you turn black, it means they’re making you angry.

If you’re having a relaxed dinner at a restaurant and the people at the table next to you are speaking really loudly, or their kids are making a lot of noise, and you start getting more and more annoyed, te están poniendo negro (they’re making you turn black). Another thing that might make you turn black is if someone is constantly calling you on the phone about things you have no interest in.

So, now you know that if you’re angry or fed up with a situation, te estás poniendo negro.

But careful, if you spend a lot of time in the sun tanning, another way to say “to tan” is ponerse negro. The meaning of the expression changes depending on the context in which you use it.

There are other expressions with black, too: verlo todo negro (literally, to see something completely black) means to have a pessimistic outlook.

Since black is the color of nothingness, darkness, and the night, if a situation or an incident looks completely black to a person, it means they are not very hopeful that it will turn out well. In other words, they think something will turn out badly, even before it happens.

So if learning Spanish looks completely black to you, or if going to class makes you turn black, watch this video and learn some more Spanish expressions with colors:

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