BLACK OUT, BLACK SHEEP, and BLACK TIE: American English Idioms #19

Welcome to American English Idioms: Lesson 19. In this lesson you have 3 American English idioms to read, listen to, translate, and pronounce in English. Please focus and do your best so that you can learn and improve your knowledge of American English idioms. Don’t forget to use the comments section below to share your thoughts and what you’ve learned today.

Directions 1: Watch the video 2 or more times, and pay close attention to the audio and text.

Directions 2: Read the following text in English, then translate it using the translator on this page into your language if needed. When you finish, feel free to write a comment in the comments section below and let us know how you feel about what you’ve learned, as well as what you’ve learned.

BLACK OUT — to lose consciousness temporarily

1. After my operation, the doctor told me not to drive for a few months because I might black out and have an accident.

2. Tom was walking down the street in the hot sun. He became dizzy and then blacked out. A blackout means a period of unconsciousness.

The expression is also used when the electricity goes out in a city. As a noun, blackout is one word.

BLACK SHEEP — an outcast

1. I haven’t seen my uncle since I was a child, because he isn’t in contact with my parents. He’s the black sheep of the family.

2. All the girls in that family except Mary grew up to become respected members of the community. She was the black sheep of the family.

The expression probably originates from the fact that most sheep are white and only the very different ones are black.

BLACK TIE — formal dress in which men wear black bow ties and dinner jackets or tuxedos and women wear formal, usually floor-length dresses

1. The dinner was black-tie, so all the men wore black bow ties and dinner jackets.

2. The film star’s wedding was black-tie. It was a glamorous affair that I’ll never forget.

The expression originates from the black bow tie that is part of men’s formal dress.

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