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discoloration of the skin around the eye, resulting from a blow, bruise, etc.
a mark of shame, dishonor, etc.:
These slums are a black eye to our town.
damaged reputation:
Your behavior will give the family a black eye.
Historical Examples

Jacques Bonneval Anne Manning
The Crimson Tide Robert W. Chambers
The Eugenic Marriage, Volume IV. (of IV.) Grant Hague
Up From Slavery: An Autobiography Booker T. Washington
Lord Tony’s Wife Baroness Emmuska Orczy
A Week’s Tramp in Dickens-Land William R. Hughes

bruising round the eye

All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard,
“Oh! where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew?”

An eye surrounded with darkened areas of contusion; mouse, shiner (1600s+)
A bad reputation; an adverse and damaging public image: That story gave me a black eye (1880s+)

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 ]


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