You probably heard someone using the Italian idiomatic expression “Sono al verde!” and tried to translate wondering what “To be at the green” might mean.

Well, “essere al verde” is a very common idiom which means “to be out of money“, even though you would be more likely to associate that expression to the red colour: in Italy the green colour could come from the medieval custom of wearing a green cap after a bankrupt or to the green table at the casino after losing all the chips.

Now, let’s see some examples to use this nice idiom!

Italian English
Volevo comprare quel vestito ma sono al verde! I wanted to buy that dress but I’m broke!
Lisa non può venire al ristorante, mi ha detto che è al verde. Lisa can’t come to the restaurant, she told me that she is out of money.
Non posso comprare il regalo di compleanno a Marco, sono completamente al verde! I can’t buy the birthday present to Marco, I am completely broke!


Do you know other similar expressions?