Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small mark that makes the appearance of something less attractive.
  • noun An imperfection that mars or impairs; a flaw.
  • transitive verb To cause to have a small mark or marks that diminish attractiveness.
  • transitive verb To mar or impair by a flaw.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To damage or impair (especially something that is well formed, or in other respects excellent); mar or make defective; destroy the perfection of; deface; sully.
  • To impair morally; tarnish, as reputation or character; defame; stain: as, to blemish one's fair fame.
  • noun A defect, flaw, or imperfection; something that mars beauty, completeness, or perfection.
  • noun A moral defect or injury; reproach; disgrace; that which impairs reputation; imputation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To mark with deformity; to injure or impair, as anything which is well formed, or excellent; to mar, or make defective, either the body or mind.
  • transitive verb To tarnish, as reputation or character; to defame.
  • noun Any mark of deformity or injury, whether physical or moral; anything that diminishes beauty, or renders imperfect that which is otherwise well formed; that which impairs reputation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small flaw which spoils the appearance of something, a stain, a spot.
  • noun A moral defect; a character flaw.
  • verb To spoil the appearance of.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb mar or spoil the appearance of
  • noun a mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something (especially on a person's body)
  • verb add a flaw or blemish to; make imperfect or defective
  • verb mar or impair with a flaw

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English blemisshen, to damage, mar, from Old French blesmir, blemir, blemiss-, to make pale, of Germanic origin; see bhel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English blemisshen, blemissen, from Old French blemiss-, stem of Old French blemir, blesmir ("make pale, injure, wound, bruise"), from Old Frankish *blesmjan, *blasmjan (“to make pale”), from Old Frankish *blasmi (“pale”), from Proto-Germanic *blasaz (“white, pale”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰel- (“to shine”). Cognate with Dutch bles ("white spot"), German blass ("pale"), Old English āblered ("bare, uncovered, bald").

Examples

  • He’s a very aggressive player whose only blemish is that he’s not a great skater.

    USA TODAY Latest news

  • It is being described as a blemish on Egypt and Egyptians.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • As the Star Tribune's Emily Johns reported last week, "The state's vexing achievement gap has become a long-term blemish on an otherwise good reputation for educational performance."

    Asian American Press | AAPress.com

  • As the Star Tribune's Emily Johns reported last week, "The state's vexing achievement gap has become a long-term blemish on an otherwise good reputation for educational performance."

    Asian American Press | AAPress.com

  • As the Star Tribune's Emily Johns reported last week, "The state's vexing achievement gap has become a long-term blemish on an otherwise good reputation for educational performance."

    Asian American Press | AAPress.com

  • Gaudi’s blemish is a symptom of the Disneyfication of Christianity, as I told a girl, persuading but failing to impress.

    Matthew Yglesias » Picture Picture, on the Blog

  • Well that's a malignant tumor calling a blemish melanoma.

    Tallulah Morehead: Survivor Tocantins: Sandy Wastes

  • Her minuteness of detail has also been found fault with; but even where it produces, at the time, a degree of tediousness, we know not whether that can justly be reckoned a blemish, which is absolutely essential to

    Famous Reviews

  • They were both of that rich dark reddish roan, and wonderfully alike, the differences being in their legs; one being nearly black in this important part of its person, the other having what most purchasers would call the blemish of four white legs -- it being a canon amongst the wise in horseflesh that

    Off to the Wilds Being the Adventures of Two Brothers

  • Sir Jasper brought a reassuring account of the poor little steed, which would be usable again after a short rest, and the blemish was the less important as there was no intention of selling him.

    Beechcroft at Rockstone

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