Have you heard the popular Chinglish “Let me give you some colors to see see.” ? You might have found it a nice thing to say but it’s not.
In Chinese Mandarin, you want someone to pay for his bad behavior and say 给你点颜色看看(gěi nǐ diǎn yánsè kànkan) which means I’ll show you some colors.
给你…看看 show you …(gěi nǐ…kànkan)
点 some (diǎn)
颜色 color (yánsè)
Since showing someone some colors is still confusing in meaning. Here is a possible origin of this saying:
In Chinese ancient classic Water Margin there is one chapter about Lu Da kicking Zhen Guanxi’s ass. In this chapter, Lu punched Zhen at his face so hard that it looks like a silk store selling on his face: purple, red, black, etc. Therefore, to teach someone a lesson in a rather violent way is to let him see some colors. How fun is that!