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.


A person can black out when they binge drink, leading to alcohol poisoning. Black outs are common in many college students, but not all students will experience them. Some people who have blacked out don’t remember what happened during the time they were passed out. The blackout period may be caused by the person’s body shutting down due to alcohol poisoning.

A black out occurs when a person has lost consciousness for a short period of time. Black outs can occur due to alcohol consumption, and other causes such as the use of drugs and seizures. A person who blacks out will often have no recollection of what he or she said or did during the blackout.

When someone blacks out, it means they lose consciousness temporarily. The most common cause of blackouts is alcohol consumption. Blackouts can last from a few seconds to an hour. During this time, the person loses awareness of what is happening around them and may even forget what they said or did just before the blackout. Some people only experience one blackout at some point in their lives, while others suffer many repeated blackouts that happen several times a day.

A black out is a temporary loss of consciousness. There are various causes of black outs, such as physical trauma or neurological damage, but more commonly they are caused by an alcohol-related brain injury. Signs and symptoms of a blackout may include unresponsiveness, memory loss, and difficulty maintaining balance. Individuals who drink alcohol on a regular basis and then stop drinking suddenly may also experience blacking out as the alcohol in their system changes.


A black sheep is one that does not conform to the behavior of the herd, often by way of rebellion. It can also refer to someone who has committed an act considered unacceptable by his or her family, company, or other significant group. Oftentimes this person will be ostracized or punished in some way for their actions.

The term, black sheep (or odd one out) is an idiom that refers to an individual that does not conform to the expected norms of his specific group. This is often used to describe someone who does not follow cultural customs specific to his/her ethnicity or religion. It also may refer to people who are considered “disgraceful” or “unacceptable.

The term “a black sheep” is an idiom which denotes a person who is considered as outcast or “black sheep” of the group. Both as a metaphor and as a literal reference to an actual animal, the term has been in usage since the 17th century and can be understood to denote various levels of social stigma. Capitalized, Black Sheep typically represent those who are ostracized due to their difference or political beliefs.

The black sheep of the family is an outcast and has been stigmatized by society.
Who do you think is the black sheep of your family? The black sheep, or outcast, of one’s family can be anyone who doesn’t fit in with the rest of the family.

As social animals, humans are prone to ostracizing outcasts. This is especially true of people who do not conform to the societal norms; they suffer the most from this type of exclusion. A black sheep then refers to someone who is not like the rest of the group, and thus considered an outsider, or an outcast.


The term ‘black tie’ refers to a dress code for formal social occasions, typically requiring men to wear black evening attire with a bow-tie. This dress code can be traced back to the Great Gatsby era in America’s history, where it was worn to the most prestigious of events. To this day, it still is seen as a symbol of wealth and status.

A black tie, also known as formal attire, is an outfit that includes a long-sleeved dress shirt or dress shirt with a wing collar, necktie, and jacket. This outfit is reserved for formal events such as weddings, balls, and opening nights.

Black Tie is typically the most formal of all dress codes, and is always appropriate for black-tie optional occasions. Black Tie’s rules of etiquette are dictated by the stricter dress codes, including White Tie. It can be seen at high-end restaurants, at social or charitable events, and even at charities auctions.

Black tie is a dress code in which one typically wears black bow ties and dinner jackets or tuxedos. This dress code is typically seen at formal evening wear events where the attire is well-groomed.

A black tie event usually means that men are wearing black bow ties and dinner jackets or tuxedos, while women are dressed in formal evening wear to match this attire.

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