a black mark

a black mark

A long-lasting negative impact of a mistake. Jerry's speeding ticket was a black mark on his driving record that prevented him from getting a job as a delivery man.
See also: black, mark

black mark

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]
See also: black, mark

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.
See also: black, mark

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
See also: black, mark
References in classic literature ?
It was such a gradual movement that he discovered it only through noticing that a black mark that had been near him five minutes ago was now at the other side of the circumference.
If a man of your age, holding certificates, has not got past a second officer's berth, there must be a black mark against him somewhere.
The latter had made great capital out of the forced resignation, but Daylight had grinned and silently gone his way, though registering a black mark against more than one club member who was destined to feel, in the days to come, the crushing weight of the Klondiker's financial paw.
I saw one of the latter with a black mark on its back, as if it had been struck with a paving-stone.
At last a black mark was found upon our door, and a great panic ensued, for we felt that now our time had come.
As to your practice, if a gentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform, with a black mark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger, and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope, I must be dull, indeed, if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medical profession.