a blot on (one's) escutcheon

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a blot on (one's) escutcheon

A stain or mark against one's reputation or that of one's family. An escutcheon was a heraldic shield that bore a family's coat of arms, and thus serves as a metaphor for one's honor. I was at the top of my class in college, but that narcotics charge will be a blot on my escutcheon for years to come.
See also: blot, escutcheon, on