Posted by TheFallen on November 12, 2002
In Reply to: Meanings & Origins posted by Patti on November 12, 2002
: Trying to find meaning and origin of 'blot my copybook'
To blot one's copybook is to make a mistake that will be both noted and remembered. I believe that the expression comes from the school-room, where children used to practise handwriting and calligraphy by laboriously copying down words and sentences written up upon the blackboard into their copybooks. Given that we're talking about the days of inkwells here, a less than careful child might well "blot his (or her) copybook" - "blot" meaning to make a splodge of ink rather than to use blotting-paper - an error which would then be a matter of permanent record.