Color me [adjective]

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Judith Baron:

    This question woke up a long-dormant memory for me. I’m not surprised that the OED dated “color me” to 1963, since that was the year that singer Kitty Kallen had a big hit with a Kander/Ebb song called “My Coloring Book.” The lyrics to that song are all about color it this, color it that, as in “This is my lonely room. Color it empty now.” I remember the ending of the song as something like “This is the man I depended on. Color him gone.”

    I can’t recall hearing the phrase “color me [blank]” used before that song became popular in the early 60s. Wow. I’m old.

  2. Petronella:

    Do you remember the hype about seasonal skin-tone matching for clothing and cosmetics, starting in the 70s? I have a feeling the real break-through of the phrase “color me something” follows the success of a book on that subject by Carole Jackson, Color Me Beautiful (1980).

  3. h. s. gudnason:

    Thirty years ago I worked for a year in a large bookstore, and often had to divine from their imprecise hints what books customers were looking for.

    At the time, two of the most popular books were Color Me Beautiful, which Petronella mentions in her comment, and Alice Walker’s novel, The Color Purple. One day a woman came up to the desk and asked if we had Color Me Purple, which left me staring blankly for several seconds before I finally asked if she meant the novel. She did.

  4. Kayla:

    I’m actually still trying to figure out what ‘Color me purple’ means. I swear I heard it somewhere before, but I’m not sure if it meant anything more than the obvious.

    Urban dictionary has a definition about it meaning ‘guilty’, but I find that entry to be somewhat dubious.

    Anyone know the answer?
    (Because you can color me confused =)

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