Meaning of mark of Cain in English:

mark of Cain


  • The sign placed on Cain after the murder of Abel; (figurative) a sign of infamy.

    In Genesis, the mark placed on Cain denotes divine protection; this aspect is not generally reflected in figurative and allusive uses of the phrase. The mark is generally supposed to have been placed on Cain's forehead, though Genesis does not specify this.


Late 18th century; earliest use found in Richard Cumberland (1732–1811), playwright and novelist.