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Can someone please tell me what 亮黄灯了 means in this sentence:

我承认,应该是运动量过大,身体亮黄灯了

And why is the colour yellow (黄) used?

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This probably refers to the orange light (黄灯) in a set of traffic lights.

Essentially when the orange light lights up, it's time to slow down and stop. In this case, it refers to your body switching to the "orange light" (muscle cramps, short of breath and etc...), which is a sign for you to slow down and take a break from excessive exercising.

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  • But 黄 is yellow,orange is 橙。
    – Krazer
    May 28 '13 at 8:38
  • Yes... it's normally called 'orange' in English. Some people do say yellow, but I don't hear that often. Don't get caught up on stuff like this. It's like some people call turquoise a shade of blue, while others call it a shade of green. People have different perceptions of what a colour looks like. I can carry on with this psychology topic, but I think I've made myself clear. May 28 '13 at 9:50
  • @Krazer as a native Chinese speaker, I confirm that deutschZuid is right :) we call that 黄灯, and the metaphor of 亮黄灯 is just as what is said in this answer.
    – Stan
    May 28 '13 at 16:04
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    @deutschZuid In my experience (US), we say "Yellow light". May 28 '13 at 16:50
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    @StumpyJoePete Here is an interesting web snippet about how it's used in different countries based on user feedback :). 365project.org/eleanor/365/2011-02-15 May 28 '13 at 20:52
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The color yellow is a sign of warning. Here in your sentence, it is a metaphor of traffic lights (IMO). green->yellow->red

我承认,应该是运动量过大,身体亮黄灯了

the quote 亮黄灯了 means that your body (身体) is warning you, e.g. headache, dizziness or some physical discomfort.

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That is a metaphor, a yellow alert for your body conditions. It means your health is going bad, but can be restored by rest and care attention. If it goes to red alert, then your body is in dangerous situation and mostly is about to collapse.

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It's meaning a warn.The yellow light.

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