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black eye

discoloration of the skin around the eye, resulting from a blow, bruise, etc.
a mark of shame, dishonor, etc.:
These slums are a black eye to our town.
damaged reputation:
Your behavior will give the family a black eye.
Origin of black eye
First recorded in 1595-1605 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for black eye
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The day was passed merrily, and I do not remember a fight, or a black eye, in the ship.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Bibi had a black eye; some punch he had run up against the day before.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • But Tog, which was the one with the black eye, was not to be justified.

    Billy Topsail & Company

    Norman Duncan
  • A jab from someone's elbow had decorated Dulcie Vale with a black eye.

  • "Just a black eye and some skin lacerations," the High Priestess said.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • A little after nine, Mr. Parasyte came in, with a black eye and a broken head.

    Breaking Away Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for black eye

black eye

bruising round the eye
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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Word Origin and History for black eye

"discoloration around the eye from injury" c.1600, from black (adj.) + eye (n.). Figurative sense of "injury to pride, rebuff" is by 1744; that of "bad reputation" is from 1880s. In reference to dark eyes, often as a mark of beauty, from 1660s. Black-eyed, of peas, attested from 1728. The black-eyed Susan as a flower (various species) so called from 1881, for its appearance. It also was the title of a poem by John Gay (1685-1732), which led to a popular British stage play of the same name in the mid-19c.

All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard,
"Oh! where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew?"

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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black eye in Medicine

black eye n.
A bruised discoloration of the flesh surrounding the eye.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for black eye

black eye

noun phrase

  1. An eye surrounded with darkened areas of contusion; mouse, shiner (1600s+)
  2. A bad reputation; an adverse and damaging public image: That story gave me a black eye (1880s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with black eye

black eye

A mark of shame, a humiliating setback, as in That there are enough homeless folks to need another shelter is a black eye for the administration. This metaphor alludes to having discolored flesh around the eye resulting from a blow. The term is also used literally, as in The mugger not only took Bill's wallet but gave him a black eye. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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