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  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

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    "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
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    @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
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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.

Or

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

Or

...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
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As in:

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

besmirch TFD

  1. To stain; sully:

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