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verb (used with object)
  1. to destroy or diminish the perfection of: The book is blemished by those long, ineffective descriptions.
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  1. a mark that detracts from appearance, as a pimple or a scar.
  2. a defect or flaw; stain; blight: a blemish on his record.
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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 formsblem·ish·er, nounun·blem·ished, adjectiveun·blem·ish·ing, adjective

Synonyms for blemish

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Synonym study

3. See defect.

Antonyms for blemish

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for blemished

sully, deface, harm, pervert, twist, scar, blot, injure, tarnish, damage, mark, vitiate, blur, maim, stain, mar, spot, smudge, distort, hurt

Examples from the Web for blemished

Historical Examples of blemished

  • 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.

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

    Joel: A Boy of Galilee

    Annie Fellows Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for blemished


  1. a defect; flaw; stain
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  1. (tr) to flaw the perfection of; spoil; tarnish
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Word Origin for blemish

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

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.

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1520s, from blemish (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

blemished in Medicine


  1. A small circumscribed alteration of the skin considered to be unesthetic but insignificant.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.