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black mark

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noun
  1. an indication of failure or censure: His chronic lateness is a black mark against him.

Origin of black mark

First recorded in 1835–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for black mark

Historical Examples

  • Rowe grinned when he said this, for he thought of the black-mark nonsense and realized that Frank took it in earnest.

    Frank Merriwell's Return to Yale

    Burt L. Standish

  • This was a black-mark day when she had neither, and she thought about her life more intently than usual.

    Betty Leicester

    Sarah Orne Jewett


British Dictionary definitions for black mark

black mark

noun
  1. 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

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.