What is the antonym of black mark as in:

It was another black mark against her that she had not gone to the last meeting.

  • 11
    'gold star', 'brownie points': "Johnnie got a gold star for cleaning the erasers last week'
    – Mitch
    Sep 30, 2015 at 17:47
  • 2
    A feather in your cap. idioms.thefreedictionary.com/a+feather+in+cap
    – Joe Dark
    Sep 30, 2015 at 18:30
  • @Mitch - It ought to be an answer. It drives me crazy when people bury the correct answer in the comments. Sep 30, 2015 at 19:19
  • 1
    @ChrisSunami It drives me crazy when people ask a SWR/phrase request; they are usually not worth the trouble a real answer needs, but I feel compelled to answer the OP somehow. Please feel free anybody to make a real answer out of this.
    – Mitch
    Sep 30, 2015 at 20:19
  • Yeah, something along the line of "gold star". (And I'm not fond of "real" answers to SWR questions either.)
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 30, 2015 at 20:36

4 Answers 4


Rather than gold star, I suggest plus. Gold star would be awkward here:

It was another plus for her that she had attended the meeting.

  • But most would interpret the request to be for a word meaning "exceptionally good", vs just "meets requirements". In such a case "gold star" (perhaps with minor wording changes) is entirely appropriate.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 1, 2015 at 0:07
  • Why would gold star be awkward?
    – Jascol
    Oct 1, 2015 at 14:38
  • 'Gold star' implies something outstanding, rather than another incremental credit. Merely attending a meeting is not outstanding.
    – egrunin
    Oct 1, 2015 at 14:44

Gold Star

Symbolic approval or recognition for outstanding merit or effort:
You get the gold star for cooking such a gourmet dinner.
anything that represents an outstanding effort or achievement:
Her promotion was the gold star she'd been working for.

Both terms conjure up images of a teacher's gradebook, with either a black mark indicating a discipline or academic problem, or a gold tinfoil star sticker representing extraordinary achievement. This also maintains the pattern of a color followed by the mark.


Full marks (definition: full credit for an achievement; praise that someone deserves for accomplishment, hard work, intelligence or other quality).

Or expression of satisfaction (example: For our wounded Your Majesty's expression of satisfaction is going to become a source of consolation).

And, of course, some "brownie points" for @Mitch comment: gold star.


There is also, figuratively, badge of honor or honour (American/British spelling)

badge of honor (noun): a medal or token signifying an awarded honor or distinction; also in figurative use — definition at dictionary.com

It's often used to transform something that might be perceived as negative into something which is a positive, by defiantly "taking ownership" of it (particularly in the formulation "wear something as a badge of honor").

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday said he got a huge kick out of the jokes flying at Sunday night’s Emmys — even if they were supposed to be at his expense. Ridicule from the Hollywood elite is a "badge of honor". — Michael Dorstewitz, "Trump calls Emmy jokes a compliment", BizPac Review (21 September 2015)

What's interesting is that going into the game Mancini had seemingly worn Inter's "ugliness" as a badge of honor. And many had bought into it, saying that being solid and muscular had its merits and that winning 1-0 (something Inter had done four times in their five games, the other result being 2-1) showed great character, determination and personality. — Gabriele Marcotti, "Barca can't afford any more injuries, Man United's tests, Inter loss not a blip", ESPN FC (29 September 2015)

But it can also be used as a straightforward positive:

Over the past decade or so, earning the title of Song of the Summer has become something of a badge of honor. The media talks about it from May until September, and Billboard has even created a separate chart to track which song(s) have the best chance of being named as the winner after Labor Day. Artists, labels, and their teams all work tirelessly to create, schedule, and properly promote that perfect single all year round. — Hugh McIntyre, "Is The Title Of "Song Of The Summer" Cursed?", Forbes.com (20 September 2015)

When you arrive in Wolfsburg, where the carmaker is based, via the main train station you immediately see the German auto giant's sprawling car factory standing tall like a cathedral, with an imposing VW logo. It's a visual reminder that VW is not simply a carmaker or a multinational corporation. It is a badge of honor woven into the fabric of what it means to be German. — Nancy Hulgrave, "Wolfsburg shocked by Volkswagen gamble", CNBC (28 September 2015)

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