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give bad marks to

Judge unsatisfactory, as in They gave bad marks to the President's program. This expression transfers the marking used in evaluating schoolwork to other endeavors. [Late 1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.