in the pink

in the pink

Meaning

This is an informal expression that denotes the peak of one’s health or an optimal state. You may also use the phrase to show a situation where an economy or an investor is in a favourable financial position. It shows that there is a good reason for optimism.

Examples in Sentences

  1. As a famous president, he has the perfect reason to be in the pink.
  2. Considering his age, he is in the pink of health.
  3. We are very glad to hear Tom is in the pink again.
  4. Your grandpa is in the pink of health, even in his eighties.

Origin

We can trace the use of this idiom back to the beginning of the 20th century, although it was in use in a rather different form from around the 16th century. The earlier phrase was “the pink,” which was meant to indicate the pinnacle or epitome of something. One of its most famous usages is in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where, in Act IV, Scene II, Shakespeare made Mercutio say, “Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.” It is not easy to explain why he chose pink to portray the pinnacle of excellence. However, one that goes for many experts is its being a derivative of the Dianthus flower family, most of which are referred to as the pinks, and many people highly esteemed them in the 16th century. 

Other people have tended to associate the phrase with a healthy and pink complexion. In contrast, others have claimed the origin to be foxhunts’ pink clothing and Thomas Pink, the tailor, though all of these lack a solid background of evidence and etymology. The earliest known “in the pink” citation is from the 1720 book Kensignton Heights, by Leigh. 

This usage shows excellence in fashion, common throughout the 19th century. Dickens also uses it in his 1845 Letters, which also witnesses a deviation from the current usage.

The current use of the phrase appeared in the 1905 issue of Kyonch Journal, where it appears in the following sentence:

“Makers may despatch explosives from the factory in the pink condition.”

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