In the script for Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon, which is set in Europe in the late 1700s, there's a use of the word "mark" that I didn't understand.

Well, if it must be, it must.  For a
young fellow, you are the most
bloodthirsty I ever saw.  No
officer, bearing His Majesty's
commission, can receive a glass of
wine on his nose, without resenting
it -- fight you must, and Best is a
huge, strong fellow.

He'll give the better mark.  I am
not afraid of him.

How is the word mark being used above? Is this an archaic use from the 1700s?

  • Best is a huge man, he'll give the better mark: he'll make an easier target. – Bread May 7 '18 at 0:59
  • 1
    @Bread: Oh, of course. I can't believe I didn't get that. Thanks. – Random May 7 '18 at 1:01
  • 2
    "and is it I That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark Of smoky muskets?" Shakespeare. – Nigel J May 7 '18 at 1:06

mark TFD

importance; prominence; a target

As in:

"A fellow of no mark nor likelihood" (Shakespeare).
"A mounted officer would be a conspicuous mark" (Ambrose Bierce).

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