Mark my words

Mark my words
 is an idiom that is hundreds of years old. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom mark my words, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Mark my words is a command to listen to the speaker; the expression admonishes the listener to heed the speaker’s words and remember them, because they are important. The phrase mark my words uses the word mark in an archaic way, to mean pay attention. The earliest known use of the expression mark my words occurs in a 1535 translation of the Bible, in the book of Isaiah. The idiom mark my words carries an ominous connotation—as if the speaker is warning about something that is inevitable or warning of something that the listener could avoid if he only pays attention to the speaker.


Tomorrow — mark my words — it will be something else, some other pithy term to serve as a repository of all that the white right fears. (Roanoke Times)

There will be more attacks like these, mark my words, and we’ve been waiting for things like this to happen. (Computer Weekly)

“Mark my words: Nevada will be the safest place to have a convention or to come and visit.“ (AP)

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