Contrastive Analysis of English, Russian, and Hebrew Gold and Silver Idioms



The article explores about 320 English, Russian, and Hebrew silver idioms, and also compares trilingual gold and silver idioms (GOIS and SIS, respectively), which has not been the subject of research until now. In quantitative terms, there is an advantage for golden idioms over silver idioms, the ratio of these metaphors in three languages is similar to the ratio of black and gray idioms. The prevalence of unique silver idioms in English and their absence in Hebrew is noted. The article discusses the lack of opposition to other colors and the parallel of GOIS & SIS (GOSIS) in the designation of material and spiritual wealth, the highest achievements, with SIS symbolizing usually less wealth and always the second most important achievement. A parallel is noted between silver metaphors and gray metaphors only in the meaning of senior and the productivity of GSIS in many areas of science and society in addition to trilingual metaphors that have existed for several centuries. There is a special activity at the present time with silver metaphors in the meaning of senior. Associative chains of GSI are organized into the following microsystems: 1. A. Nature. Flora. Fauna. Weather. Body. B. Human activity. Cooking. Anxiety. The medicine. Drugs. Money, coins. Economical - Profitable - Debit Card - Labor-Professionals. Society. A multiple of 25-50. Computers, technology. Sports, competitions. Art. Photography - Cinema. C. Mental, moral, ethical problems. Wealth, wealth - happy, rich - precious, excellent, value. Harmonious, moderate. An unattainable dream. Eloquent. Deceptive, shiny. Betrayal. Polysemy characterizes GOSIS to a lesser extent than basic color metaphors, but that is why several GOSIS can be associated with different microsystems at the same time.

General Information

Keywords: contrastive color linguistics, gold, silver, idioms, associative chains, microsystem, English, Russian, Hebrew

Journal rubric: General and Comparative Historical Linguistics

Article type: scientific article


Received: 07.03.2022


For citation: Kigel T. Contrastive Analysis of English, Russian, and Hebrew Gold and Silver Idioms [Elektronnyi resurs]. Âzyk i tekst = Language and Text, 2022. Vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 4–17. DOI: 10.17759/langt.2022090101.

Full text


Globalization and international migration period need for communication between people and countries, intensive L2 teaching, and comfortable multilingual dictionaries. In the early stage of L2 acquisition, to increase motivation to effective communication, students already can learn and use some equivalent colorful idioms.

Following the L2 researchers, linguistic competence also includes … the ability to produce or understand metaphorical interpretations (Allerton et al., 2004, 3). This linguistics study is the first to analyze the lexeme silver and to choose gold and silver lexemes as the subject of a trilingual cross-linguistic study as we know. These lexemes are not included in the color terms classification of Key and Berlin (Berlin & Kay,1969), which included such colors as achromatic (white, black, and grey), primary (white, black, red, green, yellow, blue), basic (primaries plus brown, orange, purple, pink and grey). Gold and silver lexemes don't relate to such secondary categories, terms as scarlet, gold, livid, puce, rosy, peachy, lavender, amber, drab, vanilla, beige, milky, and lily-livered (Hamilton, 2016, 198).

The basic categories are considered distinct from other terms (for example, turquoise or maroon) because they are known to all members of a community, not subsumed within another category, and generally named with mono-lexemic words (Kay et al., 1991).

The article is devoted to the semantic analysis of phraseological units in English, Russian, and Hebrew with the lexical components gold, golden, gilded, silver / золото, золотой, позолоченный, серебряный / גולד, גולדן, כסף. Gold and silver are precious metals in jewelry and have outstanding monetary value as an important part of the global financial system. If in English and Russian, the word silver is only used to describe metal, coins whereas in Hebrew, silver has two key conceptions; both metal and money at all that sometimes leads not only to a wordplay but also to the confusion of concepts. As we know, the lexeme silver is analyzed for the first time in linguistics studies and these two lexemes for the first time become the subject of a cross-linguistic study of these three languages.

Color linguistics is a flourishing field and due to intensive cross-linguistic studies the basic colorful idioms were investigated in English (Chilens, 2007; Allan, 2009; Hamilton, 2016); French, Spanish, Italian (Sokolova, 2016); Japanese (Zavyalova, 2011); Hebrew (Ben Ami, 2015; Kigel, 2021; Kigel, 2021); Slavic languages (Gadani, 2007, Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene; Kalita,2017 Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Czechs). While English GOIS covered much less in comparison with other color idioms (Batitskaya et al.,2019) the Oriental languages researchers paid more attention to them in Tatar (Kulikova, Mukhamadyarova, 2017); Khunty (Khudobina et al., 2019); Ossetian (Dzakhova et al.,2019) languages, therefore, we could learn about the importance of gold colorative and ask the question about focus color terms in these languages in relation to the theory of Berlin and Kay.

From the gold idioms studies, we learn about mostly positive connotations because color terms such as gold, silver, and platinum are derived from the names for valuable metals (Allan, 2009, 626). In the works of Dzakhova (Dzakhova et al.,2019) and Batitskaya (Batitskaya et al.,2019) analyzed the lexical-semantic groups of GOIS meanings, Khudobina (Khudobina, 466) noted that in the Khanty language, gold in the meaning of “valuable”, “sacred is especially significant dominance and ethno-priority colorative. Silver metaphors currently at all, as we know, were not covered in linguistics studies.


This work is part of the English, Russian, and Hebrew Color Idioms Project (Kigel, 2021; Kigel, 2021) and the key research questions to be addressed are: What is the number of equivalents, unclassified, and unique GOLDIS in every language? What logical-semantic associative chains and microsystems of GOLDIS could be noted? What are the similarities and differences between GOSIS and SIS meanings in three languages? What are the similarities and different features of trilingual GOSIS? Below we describe the works procedure: in the initial stage, creating the lists of GRIS with meanings from electronic dictionaries and tokens on the Internet, comparing the trilingual GOLDIS between themselves, identifying the equivalents, and unique idioms. Then various GOLDIS have been classified into logical semantic associative chains, microsystems, three key sizeable concept groups, made the quantified analysis, discussion the results, definition of universal and unique GOIS characteristics in three languages, and resuming of work done.

Results. Equvalent Idioms

A. Nature objects (color):  black gold / черное золото / זהב שחור (oil); black silver / черное серебро (blackened silver is pure silver, coated on top with black, alloys of sulfur oxides of silver, lead and copper, embossed and looks very refined); the silver light of the moon, appears silver, turned silver /серебряный свет луны, казаться серебряными, стали серебряными/ אור הירח כסוף.

Flora: golden autumn/ золотая осень /סתיו של זהב (sunny, with yellow foliage).

Weather: golden rain / золотой дождь / גשם זהוב (big rain during sunset with the effect of golden drops due to light from the sun in the cloud layer); silver frost/серебряный иней (atmospheric precipitation, ice crystals, shaped like snowflakes as a thin layer on the surface of chilled objects).

 Body:  a voice of pure gold /золотой голос (beautiful, precious, wonderful); golden curls / золотые кудри/ תלתלים זהובים; silver-haired/ כסוף שיער (English, grey-haired from aging; blue rinse, affluent older women in politics, committees, charity work; Russian – седовласый, hoary; senior citizens).          

B. Human activity.

Cooking: silver foil/ניר כסף(thin aluminum sheets to cover food and keep it fresh). 

Money, coins: gold certificate- silver certificate /  золотой сертификат - серебряный сертификат / (U.S.,paper money that could be exchanged for gold, silver on demand); gold standard – silver standard / золотой стандарт - серебряный стандарт / תקן זהב , תקן כסף  (monetary policy, the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of gold/silver); sterling silver /стерлинговое серебро/ כסף סטרלינג ( an alloy with 92.5% of silver, 7.5% other metals, usually copper); a golden (silver) key can open any door/ отпереть золотым ключом (anything can be accomplished with enough money, bribery); золотой ключ (golden key, name of lottery, pawnshop, professional skills competitions).

Economic: Silver Economy / серебряная экономика (economic activity related to the needs and interests of older citizens - production, distribution, consumption of goods and services to older and aging people by satisfying their consumption, living, health needs; products and services including information technology,  telecommunications, financial sector, housing, transport, energy, tourism, culture, infrastructure and local services, and long-term care); silver market (targeting older people; good, solutions in trade between operators, universal design and transgenerational design, adapted goods and services, physical condition and cognitive abilities to improv social integration). Profitable: golden triangle / золотой треугольник, полумесяц / משולש הזהב (three geographical units, forming a triangle shape; opium-producing area of SE Asia - Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar); Debit Card: Gold Debit Card – Silver Debit Card / Золотая карта- Cеребряная карта /כרטיס הזהב, כרטיס כסף ( a cardholder payment card enable to pay a merchant for goods and services with different financial benefits). 

Manpower: gold collar/ золотые воротнички (the highly skilled accountants, surgeons, engineers, and lawyers, professionals); a golden hello/ золотой привет לחיצת יד מוזהבת/ /; (lump-sum cash payment to executive-level employees as an inducement to join from a rival company); golden parachute - silver parachute / золотой парашют - серебряный парашют /מצנח כסף-מצנח זהב(compensation for high - middle managers if they leave a company or their position becomes redundant,); gilded handcuffs / позолоченные наручники / אזיקים מוזהבים (large payment to an employee for different purposes); golden share / золотая акция /מניית זהב (special rights in the management of privatized and strategically important companies); golden handshake - silver handshake / золотое рукопожатие - серебряное рукопожатие / מוכספת לחיצת יד לחיצת יד מוזהבת (an executive generous compensation of a company if leaves before the expiration of the employment contract, a merger or acquisition of a company - an early retirement incentive in the form of increased pension benefits for several years or a cash bonus); golden skirt(woman directorship).

Society: gold citizenship, gold passport, Golden Visa / золотой паспорт, золотая виза (the residence-by-investment in a foreign country); Silver Generation (older people population with a growing purchasing power, connect on social media);  Silver Society ( The young old people, active elderly people); Silver surfer (a proficient older ser of the Internet); Silver Voices /Серебряные волонтёры (active pensioners;Russian-silver volontiers); Серебряная пора (University of the Elderly);.

 Multiple of 25 and 50: Golden Age, a golden - silver birthday, gold -silver jubilee / золотой /серебряный юбилей/ יובל זהב-כסף (50 - 25th anniversary, the half-year of life, a time to venture, to explore new things into the coming phase of our life); the album goes gold - silver, a gold-silver record, golden - silver album/золотой - серебряный диск, альбом/ זהב-כסף, אלבום זהב דיסק (the U.S., award on singles, album: 100,000-500,000; music, video 25,000-50,000).

Computers, technics: Golden Ticket Attack - Silver Ticket Attack / атака золотым, серебряным билетом (hacker attacker has complete and unrestricted access to an entire domain — all computers, files, folders, and most importantly, the access control system itself total and complete access to domain vs Silver Ticket Attack a forged authentication ticket allowing to log into some accounts, harder to detect than Golden); Golden Rain, golden shower( pyrotechnic, a firework shower of gold sparks); silver bullet/серебряная пуля /כדור כסף (ironic, universal and effective solution, technological breakthrough, irony, solution to very complex, hard to resolve problem, difficulty).

Sport, competition: gold – silver/золото-серебро/זהב-כסף (first - second place, prize, medal, place, result, achievement reward/ место, приз, медаль), go for gold - silver /претендовать на  золото-серебро / מדליה מקום, פרס (pretend to the first – second place); Golden - Silver Boot/ Золотая - серебряная бутса, Золотой - Серебряный ботинок / כסף - זהב נהל /נהל זהב (an award to the leading football top goalscorer of the FIFA World Cup).

Photography: golden hour / שעת זהב (photography- daytime after sunrise or before sunset). Cinema: silver screen/ cеребряный экран/ מסך כסף (projection screen, popular in the early years of the motion picture industry; the screen's highly reflective surface because of silver; movies and Hollywood).

Sex: golden shower/ גשם של זהב (kind of the practice).

C. Mental, Moral, Ethical issues

Richness, wealth: gold rush - silver rush / золотая - серебряная  лихорадка הבהלה לזהב-כסף/ (the discovery of gold-silver bearing sparks a mass migration of seeking wealth; pursuit of sudden wealth); gold - silver digger / золотоискатель/ כורה זהב (prospect or digs for gold, silver; irony, pursuing of relationship for exploiting the rich - highly paid workers and middle-class person's money and wealth); golden calf / золотой телец /עגל הזהב (cult worship of the golden idol).

Lucky, fortuned: the golden egg / золотое яичко/ ביצת זהב (an unused wonderful chance because of naivety); golden opportunity, golden chance /золотая возможность, золотой шанс / הזדמנות פז (lucky opportunity or fortune,); golden child / золотой ребенок (smart, talented, Russian - well-mannered); golden touch /золотое прикосновение / מגע של הזהב  (Greek myth of King Midas, ability to turn anything he touched into solid gold); ability to be successful at anything endeavored) ( Russian, a minor change leading to great luck); to hand on a (silver) platter/ על מגש של כסף (getting achieving wealth and aims very easily without hard work, Russian-на блюдечке с голубой каемочкой, on a saucer with blue rim ); be born with a silver spoon in (one's) mouth (born wealthy; Russain - родиться в рубашке, born in a shirt, born lucky);להיוולד עם כפית זהב בפה; golden goose/ курочка, несущая золотые яйца (folklore, goose that laid a golden egg a day until its greedy owner killed it to get all the gold at once); goldmine/ золотая жила, золотое дно /מכרת זהב (inexhaustible source of enrichment, success); золотая молодежь /נוער זהוב (ironic, ignorant young people from established homes).

Precious, excellent, value: pure gold/ чистое золото/ זהב טהור ( extreme quality, superb, above praise( gold star (accomplishment, praise, commendation); a heart of gold / золотое сердце / לב זהב (excellent human qualities, good character , very well behaved); золотой человек/ּ אדם זהב (good community person, dear); as good as gold, equal to gold / worth its weight in gold /на вес золота / שווה זהב (excellent, superior, praiseworthy, very useful); speech is silver, silence is golden / слово — серебро, молчание — золото /שתיקה שווה זהב (silence is preferable to conversations in a delicate situation); golden words/ золотые слова (smart and appropriate saying); gilded cage/ золотая клетка/כלוב זהב (wealth without freedom, in marriage, work) ; золотые руки /ידי זהב (skilled craftsman); золотой работник (gold worker, extremely useful).

Heydays: golden age / золотой век, золотая пора /הזהב תור (the mythologies, the blissful (“paradise”) state of primitive mankind, living in harmony with nature; flourishing period of the heyday of the arts, sciences, endeavors); golden years, golden time/золотые годы, золотое время / הזהב גיל (English, Hebrew - seniors; Russian – nice, productive).

Harmonious, moderate: golden rule / золотое правило / כלל זהב (universal rules of fair conduct); the golden rule of mechanics/ золотое правило механики/ הכלל הזהב של מכניקה (gain in strength is equal to the loss in distance); golden rule a moral, law ,ethics /золотое правило нравственности, морали/   כלל הזהב של המוסר ( treating others as one wants to be treated, positive formula); silver rule a moral law, ethics /серебряное правило нравственности, морали (do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire; negative formula); golden proportion, golden cut, golden number, section, ratio / золотое сечение, пропорция/ חתך זהב, יחס הזהב (smaller part refers to the larger one, as the larger one to the whole; a universal manifestation of structural harmony in nature, science, art); the silver ratio / сере́бряное сече́ние / יחס הכסף (mathematics, constant of geometric relationship, distinguished aesthetically); golden mean / золотая середина / שביל הזהב (the middle course between extremes, but as Aristotle suggests, the middle ground is usually closer to one extreme than the other).

Eloquent:  golden mouthed, silver-tongued /златоустый (lofty or persuasive utterance); silver-tongued devil (an articulate speaker who is insincere and possibly a liar).

Unreachable dream: golden fleece /золотое руно/ גיזת הזהב (a symbol of authority, kingship); a pot/crock of gold (valuable, but elusive treasure); золотая рыбка (Russian, golden fish, a folklore and literary character, speak human language, grant wishes immediately).

Misleading, shiny: fool's gold/ самоварное золото / זהב שוטים (cheap fake that looks like gold,'/ worthless); all that glitters is not gold /не всё то золото, что блестит /לא כל הנוצץ זהב (not everything that looks precious is valuable).

Betray: thirty pieces of silver / тридцать сребреников/ (Judas Iscariot was paid for treachery, treason to Jesus Christ).

Analysis of Equivalent Idioms

This part represents contains 258 gold and 94 silver idioms: English 106 - 43 or 100%; Russian  90 - 28 or 85% - 65%; Hebrew 62 - 23 or 58-53%) and this is like the ratio of trilingual black idioms (361 in total; English -140 or 100%, Russian - 127 or 91%, Hebrew - 94 or 67%; Kigel, Black Idioms, in press).

Gold, silver both are precious metals and therefore can also symbolize wealth, prestige, affluence, nobility. They have positive connotations at most but sometimes a connotation is neutral (gold-silver ratio, golden - silver album), ironic (fool's gold; silver bullet) or negative (gold ticket attacks).

 In general, we found many trilingual identical idioms (gold rush - silver rush, silver bullet gold age), examples of different meanings in investigated languages (golden time in English, Hebrew – senior lifetime; in Russian - productive time), and lacunar idioms in one or two languages (gold collar in Hebrew; silver economic in Russian and Hebrew).

 The meaning of the highest sacredness, divinity exists in Khanty described by Khudobina (Khudobina et al., 2019, 466) didn't found in the three modern languages.

 After identifying the associative chains of GOIS and SIs meanings, they combined into three key concepts: 1. The Nature object (and artificial objects) B. Human activity 3. mental, moral and ethical problems, while the second group is the largest. The notation of Niemeyer (Niemeier, 2007, 154) that color metonymies are culturally dependent but at a deeper level of analysis, they seem to rely on universal natural features, and therefore both groups are related (silver screen) is very valuable. 

Quantity, there are fewer SIs, and they cover fewer issues. There is a parallel and clear coordination between GOIS and SIs on meaning - first and second place, achievement, award (gold-silver medal, gold-silver moral rule) in comparison to bronze as the third, and there is a resemblance with the relations as black and grey idioms (Kigel, Black, Grey idioms-in print). GOIS and SIs don’t form antinomy with other color idioms unlike black - white, red - green; blue - rose idioms.

The modern SIS meaning senior (silver economic, silver manpower) is very productive nowadays. SIS form the second parallel with grey idioms in the meaning seniors and the Sis add to the meaning of senior the connotation of respect to the life experience and wisdom of the elderly population. SIS also form a parallel with gold idioms in mentioned above meaning (gold and silver age - senior), but SIS is more popular.   They demonstrate polysemy (gold standard – money police and the best of the best) therefore, some GOIS and Sis appear in different associative chains and microsystems (gold hands - manpower and excellent; silver bullet - devices and drugs).

We found the nuances in the similar idioms meaning (golden ticket in three languages - total domain access; add to this, in Russian - luxurious, carefree life, in Hebrew - bank card).

Many identical idioms have been used many centuries ago (golden age, gold, and silver moral rule) and nowadays new modern economics and technical term turn to trilingual idioms (golden - silver parachute, handshake; gilded handcuffs; golden share). Following the suggestion of Dobrovolsky and Pirainen (2005: 214) it's important to investigate the five types of metaphors motivations as social interaction; material culture; intertextual phenomena; fictional conceptual areas (e.g., ancient folk theories), and cultural symbols.

Unclassified and Unique Gold and Silver Trilingual Idioms

English: silver fleece (cotton); golden flake, crisp, chips, syrup, meat, bags (food of golden color); Charolais Silver Calf (fauna, hybrid a Charolais sire and a British Breed female); Money, wealth, economy. The Golden Thread (the link between goals, vision, values, and organization's processes, systems, and people); gold standard, solid gold (a measure of the best of the best, quality, excellent, superior, high-quality, outstanding); silver family (silverware, an heirloom of a family); gold price (good price); Golden Opportunities with the Silver Economy; Aging. silver workers (aging workforce, citizen aged 65 and above); The Silver Society (aging with a positive attitude to life); The Silver Hour (30 minutes before and after death); Lucky. golden child (a favored person); golden boy (adored, promising); golden girl (popular, successful); being golden (to be in a happy, fortunate position); strike gold (to have a great success). Flourishing. The Golden Age of Hollywood (1915 -1963, enormous revenue, glittering and glamorous movie stars); Perfect, valuable. gold master, golden master (a final version of the software for manufacturing); gold song, gold song lyrics (sonata with 14 rhyming lines); golden time (positive behavior management strategy in primary schools); gold star (signify praise, accomplishment, commendation); gold oldies (hit records, songs, movies from 30 or more years in the past); The Gold Standard of Substance Abuse Treatment (medicine); Silver Young Ambassadors (schools, support the development of school sport, trained by Gold and Platinum Young Ambassadors, work with Bronze Ambassadors); silver tongue (eloquent, artful, seductive, and/or persuasive); every cloud has a silver lining (the sun is behind a cloud, a good situation followed after bad or negative); Award. "In silver!" (a goal, touchdown, triple in darts); Silver Star Medal (U.S. Armed Forces, for gallantry in action against an enemy);

Alerts, codes. Hospital Code Gold (Bomb Threat); gold alert (hospital's public address system, an incoming patient(s) with multisystem unstable trauma); Silver Alert (U.S. public notification system to broadcast information about missing persons – especially senior citizens with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in locating them); blood gold (brutal mining practices and illicit profits);

Negative. goldbricking (maintaining the appearance of working, less work than is able to); SilverBack (slang, a very large "ape-like" male); sell the family silver (the part with a valuable resource in order to gain an immediate advantage); silver bullet (kind of drug).

Russian: белое золото (white gold, cotton); золотая рыбка (smoked fish); серебряная вода (silver water, colloidal silver with the addition of the smallest particles of silver); Золотая звездочка (Balm "Golden Star" at flu; colds; headache; rhinitis; insect bites).

Money, wealth: золотой мешок(богач); золотой теленок (ironic, search for a quick get-rich); золотой миллиард (golden billion, highly developed industrial countries, members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development); бессребреник (unmercenary). Lucky. вытащить золотой билет (luxurious, carefree life). Perfect, valuable. золотое время терять, упускать (to waste gold time, not use the valuable work, learning time); золотое детство (golden childhood, happy, carefree); золотой фонд (gold fund, inalienable property, cultural works that have left a long-lasting mark, Hebrew - נכס צאן ברזל, inalienable property); золотце (gold heart, appeal to a dear and beloved person); мал золотник, да дорог (small spool, but expensive, value is not measured by size); золотые пески (golden sands, seaside resorts); Золотое кольцо(Golden Ring ,tourist route through the ancient cities of North-Eastern Russia with unique monuments of the history and culture, folk crafts ); золотые мозги (golden brains, science workers); золотой стежок( полное руководство по кройке и шитью).

Flourishing: Золотой век русской литературы (the Golden age of Russian literature, the beginning of the 19th century, including Pushkin, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov and other classics); Серебряный век (Silver Age, the beginning of the 20th century, many enlightened flourishing art lovers; Europe - Belle Epoque, beautiful era). Award: золотая медаль (gold medal of high school graduation, 2022, 70 points and above in Russian and mathematics, silver medal was canceled in 1968); Золотая звезда ("Golden Star" Medal, Russian award for services to the state and people associated with the accomplishment of a heroic deed); Misleading. сулить, обещать золотые горы (to promise gold mountains, impossible).

Hebrew: ירושלים של זהב (Gold Jerusalem); תפוז, תפוח זהב(orange); ספר הזהב של הקרן הקיימת לישראל (donor names); משמרות זה"ב, משמרות זהירות בדרכים (schoolchildren, volunteers helping to cross the road after school); העברת זה"ב,מספר זה"ב, מערכת זה"ב(immediate bank money transfer; English acronyms for RTGS - Real Time Gross Settlement ;Hebrew acronyms – זה"ב, gold); אין מדינה ניתנת" לעם על מגש של כסף" ("no state can be given to the people on a tray of money", Weizmann's words, great effort is needed to build the Israel state); Goldstar -גולדסטאר (transliteration, beer);גשם צהוב(book by Dr. Moti Sharir, deadly biological bomb).

Analysis of Unclassified Gold and Silver Trilingual Idioms

This part includes 66 unclassified and unique trilingual gold and 17 silver idioms: English – 32-17 or 100%, Russian – 25-4 or 78%-33%, Hebrew – 9-1 or 28%-1%), with great advantage of English and Russian idioms that, commonly, expand on the key themes of the classified idioms as wealth, wealth, preciousness, value, and luck (golden old men; golden key). In addition, they have the meaning of a warning, a code, and are adjectives in metaphors referring to the elderly population. Gray idioms are also associated with older people (grey pound, gray strength), but SIS has an added connotation of respect for the experience and wisdom of older people.

Due to the ambiguity, the GU can belong to several microsystems at once, so the golden ratio can be associated with both the value of harmonious and the value of beautiful. The greatest similarity is observed between English and Russian GU (13 lacunae GIs in Hebrew), then Russian and Hebrew (four lacunae GUs in English), and then English and Hebrew GUs (two lacunae GUs in Russian). GIs have different connotations: rarely, neutral (golden ticket), mostly positive (golden child), sometimes, ironic, slightly sarcastic and judgmental (gold rush, fool's gold, silver bullet) and even negative (blood gold) compared to golden idioms, they have more negative connotations (thirty pieces of silver, silver-tongued devil).

Discussion and Conclusions

The study focused on learning about 320 golden and silver idioms (English about 140-55 or 100%, Russian 120-32 or 86%-58%, and 71-24 or 50%-44% Hebrew).

In the article, for the first time, trilingual silver idioms are studied, and a comparison of English, Russian, and Hebrew golden and silver idioms is made, which has not been the subject of research until now. In quantitative terms, there is an advantage of all these idioms in English and Russian, an advantage of gold metaphors above silver idioms. The ratio of these metaphors in the three languages is similar to the ratio of black and gray idioms (Kigel, Black - Idioms: Gray Idioms - in print). Noteworthy is the prevalence of unique silver idioms in English that are lacunary in Hebrew. About two-thirds of the total number of trilingual GSIS is equivalent, which indicates the similarity of mentality, a third, or a significant part of unclassified and unique idioms, is associated with the national and cultural characteristics of the speakers of three languages.

Unlike black and white, red and green idioms, gold and silver metaphors do not come into opposition to other colors, but GI and SIS many times act as a parallel in the designation of material and spiritual wealth, the highest achievements and SIS refer to less wealth and the second most important achievement. Silver metaphors also form a parallel with gray metaphors only in the meaning of senior (grey economy, silver economy). Like English gray idioms, the meaning is ambiguous, since the silver metaphors of the 20-21st century entered Russian and Hebrew, are used and productive in many areas of science and society, for example, economics, labor, technology, (golden parachute, silver economy). Thus, the gold and silver trilingual metaphors that have existed for several centuries (gold standard - silver standard) have been developed in modern languages, with silver metaphors in the meaning of senior being the most active now.

To assist translators and L2 students in understanding and remembering the different meanings of metaphors, further study of the GSI, association chains are organized into following microsystems: A. Nature. Flora. Fauna. Weather. Body. B. Human activity. Cooking. Anxiety. The medicine. Drugs. Money, coins. Economical - Profitable - Debit Card - Labor-Professionals. Society. A multiple of 25-50. Computers, technology. Sports, competitions. Art. Photography - Cinema. C. Mental, moral, ethical problems. Wealth, wealth - happy, rich - precious, excellent, value. Harmonious, moderate. An unattainable dream. Eloquent. Deceptive, shiny. Betrayal.

Polysemy (silver bullet - a magical technical solution; drug) characterizes GOIS and SIS to a lesser extent than basic color metaphors (red and green, black, white, and gray), but that is why several GIs can be associated with several microsystems at the same time (golden rule associated with harmony, and can also be associated with excellent).

To build a more complete picture in the work, it is necessary to overcome the following limitations: consideration of etymology and diachrony, analysis of trilingual proverbs and sayings with golden and silver metaphors.

Future research will focus on trilingual peripheral colors (yellow, grey, brown, magenta, pink, etc.), metaphors of individual writers and journalists, slang that can lead to new and perhaps unexpected conclusions, and a comparative generalization of all trilingual colorful metaphors. describe the use of associative chains of trilingual GIs in translation, L2 learning, and analyze different types of motivation for trilingual idioms.]


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Information About the Authors

Tali Kigel, Independent Researcher of Multilingualism, Behazlaha-center, Petah-Tikva, Israel, ORCID:, e-mail:



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