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[blem-ish] /ˈblɛm ɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
to destroy or diminish the perfection of:
The book is blemished by those long, ineffective descriptions.
a mark that detracts from appearance, as a pimple or a scar.
a defect or flaw; stain; blight:
a blemish on his record.
Origin of blemish
1275-1325; Middle English (v.) < Anglo-French, Middle French blemiss-, long stem of ble(s)mir to make livid, perhaps < Old Low Franconian *blesmjan; see blaze2
Related forms
blemisher, noun
unblemished, adjective
unblemishing, adjective
1. stain, sully, spot, tarnish, taint; injure, mar, damage, impair, deface. 3. blot, spot, speck, taint.
1. purify, repair.
Synonym Study
3. See defect. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for blemished
Historical Examples
  • I didn't think, sir, you would have recommended my ladies a blemished horse like that.

    Black Beauty Anna Sewell
  • Because Falsehood was blemished in having no feet, she was called mendacium or mendacity.

  • Your service of God will no more be mixed and blemished with imperfections.

  • There is the gross and the refined, the blemished and the perfect.

    Prairie Gold Various
  • No one can be a priest who is maimed or blemished in any way.

    Joel: A Boy of Galilee Annie Fellows Johnston
  • Her parents were blemished with some of the frailties of that character.

    Ormond, Volume I (of 3)

    Charles Brockden Brown
  • Not a curve that was blemished by an angle or ruffled by asperities.

    Ormond, Volume II (of 3)

    Charles Brockden Brown
  • I pick by hand, and sort into three classes: large, medium, small and blemished.

    The Apple Various
  • The blemished larv tell me of a paunch already or on the point of being invaded.

  • Is there not much that answers to the offering of the lame and the sick, the blemished and the ill-favored?

British Dictionary definitions for blemished


a defect; flaw; stain
(transitive) to flaw the perfection of; spoil; tarnish
Word Origin
C14: from Old French blemir to make pale, probably of Germanic origin
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 blemished



early 14c., "to hurt, damage," from Old French blemiss- "to turn pale," extended stem of blemir, blesmir "to make pale; stain, discolor," also "to injure" (13c., Modern French blêmir), probably from Frankish *blesmjan "to cause to turn pale," or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *blas "shining, white," from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach (v.)).

The order of appearance of senses in Middle English is "hurt, damage;" "impair morally, sully" (late 14c.); "mar, spoil, injure" (early 15c.); "to mar the beauty or soundness of" (mid-15c.). Related: Blemished; blemishing.



1520s, from blemish (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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blemished in Medicine

blemish blem·ish (blěm'ĭsh)
A small circumscribed alteration of the skin considered to be unesthetic but insignificant.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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