1. white elephant
Meaning: a useless, an unwanted possession that often costs money to maintain.
Sample Sentence: Your car is a white elephant, as it often breaks down, causing you too much expenditure.
Pop culture reference: As one alternative to the Western Christmas gift exchange tradition of “Secret Santa,” a White Elephant gift exchange includes a group of family, friends, or coworkers each of whom gets one wrapped gift. Staying true to the idiom’s meaning, the gifts are usually inexpensive, humorous, or used items from home, seeking to provide entertainment for those involved rather than value.
2. raise (or wave) a white flag
Meaning: to indicate that you have been defeated and you want to give up
Sample Sentence: After we captured them, they had to raise a white flag.
Pop Culture Reference: Pop singer Dido references the symbolism represented in this idiom in her song “White Flag,” singing: “…and I won’t put my hands up and surrender. There will be no white flag above my door…”
3. white-tie event/affair
Meaning: an event that requires guests to wear formal dress such as men wearing white bow ties with formal evening attire
Sample Sentence: There was a white-tie wedding ceremony last week which I had to attend.
Pop Culture Reference: Band names are known for being creative or including play on words. The pop/electronica band The White Tie Affair chose to name themselves with this idiom.
流行文化推荐：以创新风格闻名或包含双关语的乐队名。流行摇滚/电子乐队The White Tie Affair就是以这个习语命名的。
4. white lie
Meaning: a harmless or small lie told to be polite or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
Sample Sentence: He told a white lie when his father asked where he was going.
Pop Culture Reference: The popular TV series Breaking Bad has gained so many fans across the world that some have decided to craft special beers in honor of the protagonist Walter White who told many white (and perhaps even more unwhite) lies throughout the show. The India white ale beer is a play on words in itself, named Walt’s White Lie.
5. white as a sheet
Sample Sentence: Jane was as white as a sheet because of the illness she had suffered for months.
Pop Culture Reference: In the poem Song of Myself, in the famous poetry collection Leaves of Grass, the great Walt Whitman writes the line: “The captain on the quarter-deck coldly giving his orders through a countenance white as a sheet…”