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black mark

an indication of failure or censure:
His chronic lateness is a black mark against him.
Origin of black mark
1835-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for black mark
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some once-promising entries have to undergo a black mark, while a few claims that were despaired of come to the fore.

  • Otherwise we, or I, anyhow, will start again in the autumn with a black mark.

    Michael E. F. Benson
  • The deed I had done was beyond recall, and would ever stand as a black mark against me.

    The Betrayal of John Fordham B.L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • Harry pawed his mustache and made a greasy, black mark on his face.

    The Cross-Cut Courtney Ryley Cooper
  • It was a mild and patriarchal kind of slavery, but it had left its black mark upon the countryside.

    Tom Strong, Lincoln's Scout Alfred Bishop Mason
  • A moment after nine, and only the black mark was attainable.

    Ghetto Comedies Israel Zangwill
  • "It ought to wipe out any black mark Dr. Tanner has against any of us," Jack said happily.

    Star Surgeon Alan Nourse
  • He seemed to have been in some row, for there was a black mark above his eyebrow.

    Grim Tales Edith Nesbit
  • At last a black mark was found upon our door, and a great panic ensued, for we felt that now our time had come.

    An Old-fashioned Girl Louisa May Alcott
British Dictionary definitions for black mark

black mark

an indication of disapproval, failure, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for black mark

an indication on one's record of a grievous error, misdeed, or failure; demerit


Missing that meeting was a black mark against me.'s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Idioms and Phrases with black mark

black mark

An indication of censure or failure, as in If you refuse to work late, won't that be a black mark against you? This phrase alludes to a literal black mark, such as a cross, that was put next to a person's name, indicating that he or she had incurred a rebuke or penalty of some kind. [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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