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[mahr] /mɑr/
verb (used with object), marred, marring.
to damage or spoil to a certain extent; render less perfect, attractive, useful, etc.; impair or spoil:
That billboard mars the view. The holiday was marred by bad weather.
to disfigure, deface, or scar:
The scratch marred the table.
Origin of mar
before 900; Middle English merren, Old English merran to hinder, waste; cognate with Old Saxon merrian, Old High German merren to hinder, Old Norse merja to bruise, Gothic marzjan to offend
Related forms
unmarred, adjective
unmarring, adjective
1, 2. flaw, injure; blot. Mar, deface, disfigure, deform agree in applying to some form of injury. Mar is general, but usually refers to an external or surface injury, if it is a physical one: The tabletop was marred by dents and scratches. Deface refers to a surface injury that may be temporary or easily repaired: a tablecloth defaced by penciled notations. Disfigure applies to external injury of a more permanent and serious kind: A birthmark disfigured one side of his face. Deform suggests that something has been distorted or internally injured so severely as to change its normal form or qualities, or else that some fault has interfered with its proper development: deformed by an accident that had crippled him; to deform feet by binding them.
1, 2. enhance, adorn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for marring
Historical Examples
  • In his death, he was at least marring this first moment of her lover's advent.

    Rose MacLeod Alice Brown
  • It was a terrible power, the making or marring of future reputation.

    The Cornwall Coast Arthur L. Salmon
  • To us the marring of her son seems the greatest of this Messalina's crimes.

    Court Beauties of Old Whitehall W. R. H. Trowbridge
  • Whatever my life is, he had more to do with the making or the marring of it than poor Harry has had.

  • Avoid chopping on the bench top or whittling it or boring holes or marring it by saw-cuts or chisel-marks.

    Woodworking for Beginners Charles Gardner Wheeler
  • It was unseemly, because it was marring the beauty of a great festival.

  • But all this, far from marring the impressiveness of the place, accentuated and heightened the inarticulate tragedy of its aspect.

    The Imported Bridegroom Abraham Cahan
  • They felt as if the making or marring of their lives was in their hands.

    The Making of William Edwards Mrs. G. Linnaeus Banks
  • But know, Quentin Durward, that you have foiled me to the marring of thine own fortune.

    Quentin Durward Sir Walter Scott
  • I, by the way, had my share in marring one of these during the run.

    The Story of My Life Ellen Terry
British Dictionary definitions for marring


verb mars, marring, marred
(transitive) to cause harm to; spoil or impair
a disfiguring mark; blemish
Derived Forms
marrer, noun
Word Origin
Old English merran; compare Old Saxon merrian to hinder, Old Norse merja to bruise


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 marring



Old English merran (Anglian), mierran (West Saxon) "to waste, spoil," from Proto-Germanic *marzjan (cf. Old Frisian meria, Old High German marren "to hinder, obstruct," Gothic marzjan "to hinder, offend"), from PIE root *mers- "to trouble, confuse" (cf. Sanskrit mrsyate "forgets, neglects," Lithuanian mirszati "to forget"). Related: Marred; marring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for marring


major acquisition review
Mid-Atlantic Ridge
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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