I was reading an editorial in Huffpo when I found a use of the word “bruise” that seems strange to me. The sentence was, “Days fade from bright to bruise as they sit at their computers, happily held hostage by alternative facts.” The author is discussing her in-laws, and is concerned about the effect her in-laws’ political views could have on the author’s young children. (I am not trying to use this post to discuss politics: I mention the context only to give background regarding the quote. And my only interest in the quote is its use of “bruise.”)
“Bruise” is clearly being used to refer to the color of the sky, presumably in the late afternoon or early evening. I am not sure if this is an established use of the word that I am unfamiliar with, or if the author is just using it metaphorically. If it is a metaphor it doesn’t seem to be a commonly used one, though perhaps it is and I just haven’t seen it. But if it is just being used as a one-off metaphor, it seems like a strange choice, as both bruises and the sky can take on many colors. It also seems strange to me to just drop “bruise” into the sentence this way, without overt signaling that it is a metaphor and without more of a clue as to the intended meaning, if it is not a well-established metaphor.
I checked a few on-like dictionaries (AHD, Oxford, and Dictionary.com), and also tried googling, and could find no evidence of a sense of “bruise” as short hand for a specific color. I also couldn’t find evidence of it being a regularly used metaphor for the color of the sky.
Has anyone else seen anything like this before?