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in the red

Meaning: If a person or a company is in the red, their debts are greater than their assets.

For example:

  • Even if we make a profit this year, we owe so much money that we'll probably still be in the red.

  • I don't like being in the red, so I don't borrow money.

Note: This comes from the practice in accounting of using red ink to make entries into a "debits" column.

Quick Quiz:

If someone is in the red they
  1. are owed money
  2. owe money
  3. have been owed money

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