a mark, or a number or pattern of marks: birds with colorful markings.
the act of a person or thing that marks: the marking of papers.

Origin of marking

Middle English word dating back to 1275–1325; see origin at mark1, -ing1




a visible impression or trace on something, as a line, cut, dent, stain, or bruise: a small mark on his arm.
a badge, brand, or other visible sign assumed or imposed: a mark of his noble rank.
a symbol used in writing or printing: a punctuation mark.
a sign, usually an X or cross, made instead of a signature by someone who does not know how or is unable to write his or her own name.
an affixed or impressed device, symbol, inscription, etc., serving to give information, identify, indicate origin or ownership, attest to character or comparative merit, or the like, as a trademark.
a sign, token, or indication: to bow as a mark of respect.
a symbol used in rating conduct, proficiency, attainment, etc., as of pupils in a school: good marks; bad marks.
something serving as an indication of position, as a landmark.
a recognized or required standard of quality, accomplishment, etc.; norm: His dissertation was below the mark.
distinction or importance; repute; note: a man of mark.
a distinctive trait or characteristic: the usual marks of a gentleman.
(usually initial capital letter) U.S. Military. a designation for an item of military equipment in production, used in combination with a numeral to indicate the order of adoption, and often abbreviated: a Mark-4 tank; an M-1 rifle.
an object aimed at; target: to aim at the mark.
an object or end desired or striven for; goal.
  1. an object of derision, scorn, manipulation, or the like: He was an easy mark for criticism.
  2. the intended victim of a swindler, hustler, or the like: The cardsharps picked their marks from among the tourists on the cruise ship.
Track. the starting line.
Boxing. the middle of the stomach.
Lawn Bowling. jack1(def 18).
Bowling. a strike or spare.
Nautical. any of the distinctively marked points on a deep-sea lead line, occurring at levels of 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 17, and 20 fathoms above the lead.Compare deep(def 33).
a tract of land that may have been held in common by a primitive or early medieval community of peasants in Germany.
Archaic or History/Historical. a boundary; frontier.

verb (used with object)

to be a distinguishing feature of: a day marked by rain.
to put a mark or marks on: to mark each box with an X.
to give a grade for; put a grade on: to mark the final exams.
to furnish with figures, signs, tags, etc., to indicate price, quality, brand name, or the like: We marked all the books with prices.
to trace or form by or as if by marks (often followed by out): to mark out a plan of attack.
to indicate or designate by or as if by marks: to mark passages to be memorized.
to single out; destine (often followed by out): to be marked out for promotion.
to record, as a score.
to make manifest: to mark approval with a nod.
to give heed or attention to: Mark my words!
to notice or observe: to mark a change in the weather.

verb (used without object)

to take notice; give attention; consider.

Verb Phrases

mark down, to reduce the price of: These towels have been marked down.
mark off, to mark the proper dimensions or boundaries of; separate: We marked off the limits of our lot with stakes.
mark up,
  1. to mar or deface with marks.
  2. to mark with notations or symbols.
  3. to fix the selling price of (an article) by adding to the seller's cost an amount to cover expenses and profit: to mark up dresses 50 percent.
  4. to increase the selling price of.
  5. to make corrections or changes to (written or printed text).
  6. to indicate detailed instructions concerning the format, style, or structure for (a manuscript to be typeset, an electronic document, or a web page).

Origin of mark

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English mearc mark, sign, banner, dividing line, borderland; cognate with German Mark borderland, unit of weight, Old Norse mǫrk forest (orig., borderland), unit of weight, Gothic marka boundary, borderland, Latin margō margin; (v.) Middle English marken, Old English mearcian; cognate with Old Frisian merkia, Old High German marchōn, Old Norse marka to plan

Synonyms for mark Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for marking

Contemporary Examples of marking

Historical Examples of marking

  • He read with pencil in hand, and he had an elaborate system of marking a book.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • But then he might be only marking time to let that guzzling Cheeseman dine at his leisure.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Madden was just marking these men when there was a tap at the door.

  • They go to you as they came out of the hand of the Copier, without pointing or marking.

    The Group

    Mercy Warren

  • And still she smiled, transported with delight at marking this awakening of his senses.

British Dictionary definitions for marking



a mark or series of marks
the arrangement of colours on an animal, plant, etc
assessment and correction of school children's or students' written work by teaching staff


noun New Testament

one of the four Evangelists. Feast day: April 25
the second Gospel, traditionally ascribed to him




a visible impression, stain, etc, on a surface, such as a spot or scratch
a sign, symbol, or other indication that distinguishes somethingan owner's mark
a cross or other symbol made instead of a signature
a written or printed sign or symbol, as for punctuationa question mark
a letter, number, or percentage used to grade academic work
a thing that indicates position or directs; marker
a desired or recognized standardhe is not up to the mark
an indication of some quality, feature, or prowesshe has the mark of an athlete
quality or importance; notea person of little mark
a target or goal
impression or influencehe left his mark on German literature
one of the temperature settings on a gas ovengas mark 5
(often capital) (in trade names)
  1. model, brand, or typethe car is a Mark 4
  2. a variation on a particular modela Mark 3 Cortina
slang a suitable victim, esp for swindling
nautical one of the intervals distinctively marked on a sounding leadCompare deep (def. 21)
bowls another name for the jack 1 (def. 7)
rugby Union an action in which a player standing inside his own 22m line catches a forward kick by an opponent and shouts "mark", entitling himself to a free kick
Australian rules football a catch of the ball from a kick of at least 10 yards, after which a free kick is taken
the mark boxing the middle of the stomach at or above the line made by the boxer's trunks
(in medieval England and Germany) a piece of land held in common by the free men of a community
an obsolete word for frontier
statistics See class mark
make one's mark to succeed or achieve recognition
on your mark or on your marks a command given to runners in a race to prepare themselves at the starting line


to make or receive (a visible impression, trace, or stain) on (a surface)
(tr) to characterize or distinguishhis face was marked by anger
(often foll by off or out) to set boundaries or limits (on)to mark out an area for negotiation
(tr) to select, designate, or doom by or as if by a markto mark someone as a criminal
(tr) to put identifying or designating labels, stamps, etc, on, esp to indicate priceto mark the book at one pound
(tr) to pay heed or attention tomark my words
to observe; notice
to grade or evaluate (scholastic work)she marks fairly
British sport to stay close to (an opponent) to hamper his or her play
to keep (score) in some games
mark time
  1. to move the feet alternately as in marching but without advancing
  2. to act in a mechanical and routine way
  3. to halt progress temporarily, while awaiting developments


rugby Union the shout given by a player when calling for a mark
See also markdown, mark-up

Word Origin for mark

Old English mearc mark; related to Old Norse mörk boundary land, Old High German marha boundary, Latin margō margin




a former monetary unit and coin in England and Scotland worth two thirds of a pound sterling
a silver coin of Germany until 1924

Word Origin for mark

Old English marc unit of weight of precious metal, perhaps from the marks on metal bars; apparently of Germanic origin and related to mark 1
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 marking

Old English mearcung "action of making marks, branding; mark, pattern of marks, characteristic; constellation," verbal noun from mark (v.). Related: Markings.



"to put a mark on," Old English mearcian (West Saxon), merciga (Anglian) "to trace out boundaries," from Proto-Germanic *markojanan (cf. Old Norse merkja, Old Saxon markon, Old Frisian merkia, Old High German marchon, German merken "to mark, note," Middle Dutch and Dutch merken), from the root of mark (n.1).

Influenced by Scandinavian cognates. Meaning "to have a mark" is from c.1400; that of "to notice, observe" is late 14c. Meaning "to put a numerical price on an object for sale" led to verbal phrase mark down (1859). Mark time (1833) is from military drill. Related: Marked; marking. Old French merchier "to mark, note, stamp, brand" is a Germanic loan-word.



"trace, impression," Old English mearc (West Saxon), merc (Mercian) "boundary, sign, limit, mark," from Proto-Germanic *marko (cf. Old Norse merki "boundary, sign," mörk "forest," which often marked a frontier; Old Frisian merke, Gothic marka "boundary, frontier," Dutch merk "mark, brand," German Mark "boundary, boundary land"), from PIE *merg- "edge, boundary, border" (cf. Latin margo "margin;" Avestan mareza- "border," Old Irish mruig, Irish bruig "borderland," Welsh bro "district").

The primary sense is probably "boundary," which had evolved by Old English through "sign of a boundary," through "sign in general," then to "impression or trace forming a sign." Meaning "any visible trace or impression" first recorded c.1200. Sense of "line drawn to indicate starting point of a race" (e.g. on your marks ...) first attested 1887. The Middle English sense of "target" (c.1200) is the notion in marksman and slang sense "victim of a swindle" (1883). The notion of "sign, token" is behind the meaning "numerical award given by a teacher" (1829). Influenced by Scandinavian cognates.



"unit of money or weight," late Old English marc, a unit of weight (chiefly for gold or silver) equal to about eight ounces, probably from Old Norse mörk "unit of weight," cognate with German Mark, probably ultimately a derivative of mark (n.1), perhaps in sense of "imprinted weight or coin." Used from 18c. in reference to various continental coinages, especially. the silver coin of Germany first issued 1875.


masc. proper name, variant of Marcus (q.v.). Among the top 10 names given to boy babies born in the U.S. between 1955 and 1970.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

marking in Medicine




A spot or line on a surface, visible through difference in color or elevation from that of the surrounding area.
A distinctive trait or property.


To make a visible trace or impression on, as occurs with a spot or dent.
To form, make, or depict by making a mark.
To distinguish or characterize.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with marking


In addition to the idioms beginning with mark

  • mark down
  • marked man, a
  • mark my words
  • mark time
  • mark up

also see:

  • beside the point (mark)
  • black mark
  • give bad marks to
  • high-water mark
  • hit the bull's-eye (mark)
  • make one's mark
  • off the mark
  • quick off the mark
  • toe the line (mark)
  • up to par (the mark)
  • wide of the mark
  • x marks the spot
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.