black eye(redirected from the black eye)
1. Literal discoloration in the area surrounding the eye(s) due to an accumulation of blood. He had a pretty bad black eye after the bully punched him in the face. I had two black eyes for several days after my car accident.
2. By extension, a blemish to one's reputation. That food critic's negative review really gave a black eye to my restaurant.
1. Lit. a bruise near the eye from being struck. (*Typically have ~; get ~; give someone ~.) I got a black eye from walking into a door. I have a black eye where John hit me.
2. Fig. harm done to one's character. (*Typically have ~; get ~; give someone ~.) Mary got a black eye because of her constant complaining. The whole group now has a black eye, and it will take years to recover our reputation.
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]
n. a moral blemish; an injury to the prestige of someone or something. That kind of behavior can give us all a black eye.