give (someone or something) a black eye

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give (someone or something) a black eye

1. Literally, to strike someone in the face and cause discoloration in the area surrounding the eye(s) due to an accumulation of blood. That bully punched him in the face and gave him a pretty bad black eye.
2. By extension, to make someone or something look bad; to damage someone or something's reputation. That food critic's negative review really gave my restaurant a black eye.
See also: black, eye, give
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

give someone a black eye

If you give someone a black eye, you punish them for something they have done, but without causing them permanent harm. Whenever the Liberal Democratic Party gets too cocky, voters tend to give it a black eye. What's giving a black eye to the world's richest economy are the collapses of numerous giant companies. Note: A black eye is a dark-coloured bruise around a person's eye.
See also: black, eye, give, someone
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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