- 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
Examples from the Web for black eye
Historical Examples of black eye
The so-called "black-eye" is a typical example of this degree of bruise.The Eugenic Marriage, Volume IV. (of IV.)
But the black-eye dealt the residential district long ago had not yet cleared up.The Crimson Tide
Robert W. Chambers
At times I have eaten in cabins where they had only corn bread and "black-eye peas" cooked in plain water.Up From Slavery: An Autobiography
Booker T. Washington
There was many a black-eye already, many a contusion: more than one knife—surreptitiously drawn—was already stained with red.Lord Tony's Wife
Baroness Emmuska Orczy
It was in this Inn that I was cried over by my rosy little sister, because I had acquired a black-eye in a fight.A Week's Tramp in Dickens-Land
William R. Hughes
- bruising round the 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?"
- A bruised discoloration of the flesh surrounding the 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]