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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
First recorded in 1835-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for black mark
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Otherwise we, or I, anyhow, will start again in the autumn with a black mark.

    Michael E. F. Benson
  • Harry pawed his mustache and made a greasy, black mark on his face.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper
  • They'd get a black mark, but after a while they'd get another job too.

    Eight Keys to Eden Mark Irvin Clifton
  • A moment after nine, and only the black mark was attainable.

    Ghetto Comedies

    Israel Zangwill
  • “They had a new plot to get a black mark against you,” went on the fireman.

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

    Grim Tales Edith Nesbit
  • It would not be so impossible to set a black mark against his name!

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete Martin Anderson Nexo
  • Fred felt that each stroke of the pencil was a black mark against him.

    Waste Not, Want Dave Dryfoos
  • A black mark told where the tripod had held the kettle and betrayed what had been.

    Glories of Spain Charles W. Wood
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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