What does the idiom "in the black" mean?

in the black is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression in the black is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "in the black"


The idiom “in the black” is used to refer to a financial situation in which an organization or individual has a net gain—that is, more money coming in than going out. This phrase is the opposite of the phrase “in the red”, which refers to a financial situation in which an organization or individual is in debt.


The phrase “in the black” is thought to have originated in the late 19th century, when financiers would color-code ledgers to indicate whether a company was making a profit or a loss. Black was the color of the ink used to indicate profits or gains, while red was used to indicate losses. Thus, when a company was “in the black” it meant that it was recording profits.


The phrase “in the black” is most often used in a business or financial context, to refer to a situation in which an organization or individual is making a profit. It can also be used more generally to refer to any situation in which a person or organization is “in the money”—that is, achieving success or making gains.

Example Sentences

  • The company's quarterly financial report showed that it was in the black for the first time in three years.
  • The new software made it possible for the startup to move into the black.
  • The small business owner was pleased to see that, after all of his hard work, he was finally in the black.

The meanings of the words in the "in the black" idiom

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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