1. Is the following correct usage? "They didn't want me to ruin the family name. "
  2. What are some other idiomatic expressions or phrases to say something similar? I am aware of "give a bad name" and "one's name is mud".
  3. What would be the correct usage of idiom " one's name is mud" in this context?

closed as too broad by choster, Chappo, JJJ, curiousdannii, Jason Bassford Jun 19 at 18:13

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    "Disgrace the family name seems to have more usage. – Cascabel Jun 18 at 18:42
  • @Cascabel that's an important and useful statistic! Thanks...! How can I get such statistics? – user352038 Jun 18 at 18:46
  • Just click on the link...it takes you to Ngrams by google. Paste in any phrase or word. This is used quite often on this site along with Google.books search. – Cascabel Jun 18 at 18:48
  • 1
    @Cascabel thanks! – user352038 Jun 18 at 18:53
  • Also: They didn't want me to be the bad apple. – aparente001 Jun 18 at 20:26

Your usage in line 1

They didn't want me to ruin the family name

is perfect. And as you say,

to give the family a bad name

would be fine too.

It's funny to see One's name is mud: a wonderfully concise example of bathos! An idiomatic use of the expression would be,

They were worried that (if I did such and such) the family name would be mud.

Other expressions:

They were worried that (if I did such and such) the family's reputation/standing would/might (thereby!) be ruined.


They didn't want me dragging the family name through the dirt


...miring the family name / besmirching it / bringing/heaping dishonour upon/on it.

Or, more plainly,

They didn't want me to give the family a bad name.

  • Is it correct to say "They were worried that I would ruin the family name"? Also, could you elaborate on how you think "one's name is mud" is an example of Bathos. Needless to say, I hadn't heard of the term "Bathos" until a few seconds ago.. – user352038 Jun 18 at 18:18
  • "One's name" is rather grand: "mud" is very down-to-earth. The rapid 'fall' from posh English to very mundane English makes it bathetic. And quite funny. "One's name is mud" sounds like the Queen being amusing. – Old Brixtonian Jun 18 at 18:27
  • Ah nice, very subtle. I'm afraid I don't pick up on these itsy bitsies. I'm new to these things. Thanks! – user352038 Jun 18 at 18:29
  • Your English seems excellent. By the way, I forgot to answer your other point. Yes, "They were worried that I would ruin the family name" is fine. "They feared I would ruin the family name" is also good. – Old Brixtonian Jun 18 at 18:33
  • Oh i like the " feared" bit a bit better! P. S. I know English, I understand it well, but it doesn't flow through me like I want it to. Perhaps writing everyday will help unclog the synapses. – user352038 Jun 18 at 18:35

As in:

"They didn't want me to besmirch the family name."

besmirch TFD

  1. To stain; sully:

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.