Definition of mark noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary





1 a small area of dirt, a spot, or a cut on a surface that spoils its appearanceThe kids left dirty marks all over the kitchen floor.a burn/scratch markDetectives found no marks on the body.2 a noticeable spot or area of color on the body of a person or an animal that helps you to recognize thema horse with a white mark on its headHe was about six feet tall, with no distinguishing marks. see also birthmark, marking


3 a written or printed symbol that is used as a sign of something, for example the quality of something or who made or owns itpunctuation/proofreading marksAny piece of silver bearing his mark is extremely valuable.I put a mark in the margin to remind me to check the figure. see also question mark, quotation marks, trademark


4 a sign that a quality or feeling existsOn the day of the funeral businesses remained closed as a mark of respect.Such coolness under pressure is the mark of a champion.


5 a number or letter that is given to show the standard of someone's work or performanceto get a good/low mark in Englishto give someone a high/low markThe administration's handling of the crisis deserves top marks. see also black mark, grade


6 a level or point that something reaches that is thought to be importantUnemployment has passed the four million mark.Temperatures had soared toward the 90 degree mark.She was leading at the halfway mark.


7 Mark (followed by a number) a particular type or model of a machine or vehiclethe Mark II engine


8 a cross made on a document instead of a signature by someone who is not able to write their name


9 (formal) a targetOf the blows delivered, barely half found their hit/miss the mark

German money

10 = Deutschmark

be close to/near the mark

to be fairly accurate in a guess, statement, etc.
Such guesses are thought to be close to the mark.“The Los Angeles Times” was nearer the mark when it said…be close to the markbe close near the mark

be off the mark

not to be accurate in a guess, statement, etc.
No, you're way off the off the mark

be on the mark

to be accurate or correct
That estimate was right on the mark.I think that your idea is right on the on the mark

hit/miss the mark

to succeed/fail in achieving or guessing something
He blushed furiously and Robyn knew she had hit the mark.hit the markmiss the mark

leave your/its/a mark (on something/someone)

to have an effect on something or someone, especially a bad one, that lasts for a long time
Such a traumatic experience was bound to leave its mark on the children.War has left its mark on the country.She left a permanent mark on racing history.leave your/a markleave your/a mark onleave its/a markleave its/a mark on

make your/a mark (on something)

to become famous and successful in a particular area
He has already made his mark on the music industry.She quickly made her mark as a film director.make your markmake your mark onmake a markmake a mark on

on your mark, get set, go!

used to tell runners in a race to get ready and then to start
on your mark, get set, go!

overstep the mark/line

to behave in a way that people think is not acceptable
She realized she had overstepped the mark and quickly apologized.overstep the markoverstep the line

quick/slow off the mark

fast/slow in reacting to a situation
If you're quick off the mark in answering these questions, you could win a prize.quick off the markslow off the mark

toe the line/mark

to say or do what someone in authority tells you to say or do, even if you do not share the same opinions, etc.
One or two of them refused to toe the toe the party linetoe the linetoe the mark

wide of the mark

not accurate
Their predictions turned out to be wide of the mark.wide of the mark
Usage noteUsage note: markstain fingerprint streak speck blot smear spotThese are all words for a small area of dirt or another substance on a surface.mark a small area of dirt or other substance on the surface of something, especially one that spoils its appearance: The kids left dirty marks all over the kitchen floor.stain a dirty mark on something that is difficult to remove, especially one made by a liquid: blood stainsfingerprint a mark on a surface made by the pattern of lines on the end of a person's finger, often used by the police to identify criminals: Her fingerprints were all over the gun.streak a long thin mark or line that is a different color from the surface it is on: She had streaks of gray in her hair.speck a very small mark, spot, or piece of a substance on something: There isn't a speck of dust anywhere in the house.blot a spot or dirty mark left on something by a substance such as ink being dropped on a surface: an ink blotsmear a mark made by something such as oil or paint being spread or rubbed on a surface: She had smears of paint on her a small dirty mark on something: He found grease spots all over the walls.patternsa streak/speck/blot/smear/spot of somethinga greasy mark/stain/smeara/an ink mark/stain/blot/spota/an grease mark/stain/spotto leave a mark/stain/fingerprint/streak/speck/blot/smearUsage noteUsage note: patchdot mark spotThese are all words for a small part on a surface that is a different color from the rest.patch an area of something, especially one which is different from the area around it: a white dog with a black patch around its eye patches of dense fogdot a small round mark on something, especially one that is printed: The letters “i” and “j” have dots over them. The island is a small green dot on the map.note Periods and decimal points are often referred to as “dots,” especially when talking about computers: The file is called “my essay dot doc.” The IP address is “192 dot 168 dot zero dot zero.”mark a noticeable area of color on the body of a person or an animal: The horse had a white mark on his a small round area that is a different color or feels different from the surface it is on: Which one has spots—a leopard or a tiger?patternsa patch/dot/mark/spot on somethingwith patches/dots/marks/spotsa blue/black/red, etc. patch/dot/mark/spot