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A lasting negative opinion or effect resulting from a mistake or failure. Jerry's speeding ticket was a black mark on his driving record that prevented him from getting a job as a delivery man. They let me keep my job after I got caught, but the transgression became a black mark against me for the rest of my career.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
An indication of censure or failure, as in If you refuse to work late, won't that be a black mark against you? This phrase alludes to a literal black mark, such as a cross, that was put next to a person's name, indicating that he or she had incurred a rebuke or penalty of some kind. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a black mark
COMMON If you get a black mark, people form a bad opinion of you as a result of something that you have done. Any complaints to the boss and you got a black mark straight away. I drive a big car so that's another black mark against me as far as Amy is concerned. Note: This expression may refer to a practice in schools in the past. If children behaved badly, the teacher put black marks against their names on a list.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
a black ˈmark (against somebody)(British English) something that somebody has done which makes other people dislike or disapprove of them: It was another black mark against her that she had not gone to the last meeting. OPPOSITE: brownie points
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