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blem·​ish ˈble-mish How to pronounce blemish (audio)
blemished; blemishing; blemishes

transitive verb

: to spoil by a flaw


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: a noticeable imperfection
especially : one that seriously impairs appearance

Example Sentences

Verb A series of burn marks blemish the table's surface. The incident blemished his reputation. Noun The cream is supposed to prevent blemishes on the skin. The table had a few scratches and minor blemishes. The book fails to mention any of the organization's many blemishes. The incident was a blemish on his record. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Corrigan added that such a narrow defeat in a conference title game didn't blemish the resume TCU already had in place. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 4 Dec. 2022 These situations will test the health of your company, and the danger of neglecting the role of communications could not just blemish your brand’s health but also impact the bottom line. Jennifer Acree, Forbes, 12 Aug. 2022 However, dirt, debris, and food can blemish these tough surfaces over time. Nafeesah Allen, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 June 2022 While liquid is simmering, peel the pears, leaving the stem intact and being careful not to blemish the flesh of the pears. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 8 Dec. 2021 But Paul’s latest shortcoming and his uncertain playoff future should not blemish an otherwise impeccable basketball résumé. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, 21 July 2021 And while some have sought therapy or medications to cope, others fear that engaging in these support systems could blemish their records and dissuade future employers from hiring them. New York Times, 25 Nov. 2020 For his part, Hinch defended his players' talents but acknowledged the clubhouse put itself in a position where its achievements may be blemished. Editors, USA TODAY, 7 Feb. 2020 Such a policy would ensure that individuals did not emerge from this crisis burdened with debts and blemished credit Renters need help, too. Sendhil Mullainathan, New York Times, 19 Mar. 2020
Defense has been the one constant blemish on the Kelly era, largely offsetting his elite offenses. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2023 The Lions have won four of their past four games, with their only blemish since Halloween coming in last week’s Thanksgiving loss to the Buffalo Bills, who kicked the game-winning field goal with 2 seconds to play. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 5 Dec. 2022 In Grapevine’s near-flawless 11-1 season, there’s just one blemish that dates back to non-district play. Dallas News, 21 Nov. 2022 But the Knights have quietly been playing impressive football – outside a loss at East Carolina that was their only blemish in their last seven games. USA TODAY, 11 Nov. 2022 In 10 postseason games against Cleveland, that is Chapman’s only blemish. Paul Hoynes, cleveland, 9 Oct. 2022 Hood-Schifino had 33 points, three rebounds and three assists, with the only major blemish being his six turnovers. Tyler Tachman, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Jan. 2023 The only blemish was a 1-1 draw at SJS on Sept. 20. Matt Doherty,, 19 Nov. 2022 The only blemish on his game is shaky three-point shooting. Jeff Potrykus, Journal Sentinel, 5 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'blemish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English blemisshen, to damage, injure, sully, from Anglo-French blemiss-, stem of blemir, blesmir, from Old French, literally, to make pale by wounding, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German blasros horse with a blaze, Old Norse blesi blaze — more at blaze

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1535, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of blemish was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near blemish

Cite this Entry

“Blemish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a mark that makes something imperfect
blemish verb

Medical Definition


blem·​ish ˈblem-ish How to pronounce blemish (audio)
: a mark of physical deformity or injury: as
: any small mark on the skin (as a pimple or birthmark)
blemishes symptomatic of acne
: a defect of an animal (as a horse) that detracts from its appearance but does not interfere with its usefulness

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