Entries linking to pock-mark
"pustule raised on the surface of the body in an eruptive disease," Middle English pok, from Old English pocc "pustule, blister, ulcer," from Proto-Germanic *puh(h)- "to swell up, blow up" (source also of Middle Dutch pocke, Dutch pok, East Frisian pok, Low German poche, dialectal German Pfoche), from PIE root *beu- "to swell, to blow" (see bull (n.2)).
French pocque is from Germanic. The plural form, Middle English pokkes "disease characterized by pustules" (late 14c.) is the source of pox.
"trace, impression," Old English mearc (West Saxon), merc (Mercian) "boundary, limit; sign, landmark," from Proto-Germanic *markō (source also of Old Norse merki "boundary, sign," mörk "forest," which often marked a frontier; Old Frisian merke, Gothic marka "boundary, frontier," Dutch merk "mark, brand," German Mark "boundary, boundary land"), from PIE root *merg- "boundary, border." Influenced by, and partly from, Scandinavian cognates. The Germanic word was borrowed widely and early in Romanic (compare marque; march (n.2), marquis).
The primary sense "boundary" had evolved by Old English through "pillar, post, etc. as a sign of a boundary," through "a sign in general," then to "impression or trace forming a sign." Meaning "any visible trace or impression" is recorded by c. 1200. Meaning "a cross or other character made by an illiterate person as a signature" is from late Old English. Sense of "line drawn to indicate the starting point of a race" (as in on your marks..., which is by 1890) is attested by 1887.
The Middle English sense of "target" (c. 1200) is the notion in marksman and slang sense "victim of a swindle" (1883). The notion of "sign, token" is behind the meaning "a characteristic property, a distinctive feature" (1520s), also that of "numerical award given by a teacher" (by 1829). To make (one's) mark "attain distinction" is by 1847.
In medieval England and in Germany, "a tract of land held in common by a community," hence Mark of Brandenburg, etc.
updated on July 23, 2020
Dictionary entries near pock-mark