re·​fur·​bish ri-ˈfər-bish How to pronounce refurbish (audio)
refurbished; refurbishing; refurbishes

transitive verb

: to brighten or freshen up : renovate
refurbisher noun
refurbishment noun

Did you know?

If you're wondering if refurbish implies the existence of an earlier furbish, you are on the right track. Furbish was borrowed into English in the 14th century from Anglo-French furbiss-, a distant relative of Old High German furben, meaning "to polish." In its earliest uses furbish also meant "to polish," but it developed an extended sense of "renovate" shortly before English speakers created refurbish with the same meaning in the 17th century. These days refurbish is the more common of the two words, although furbish does continue to be used.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This program, coinciding with suppliers and manufacturers respectful of the Global Recycle Standards, allows R3 to retrieve used pairs of shoes, refurbish them and donate them to soles4souls non-profit based in Canada. Cassell Ferere, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 Companies could buy back products that consumers are done with and refurbish them to resell. Anna Funk, Discover Magazine, 21 Apr. 2020 There are lots of good causes accepting phone donations to either refurbish or sell for cash, including the Salvation Army and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Rachel Ramirez, CNN, 11 Dec. 2022 In the Czech Republic, the defense industry will refurbish the tanks. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 9 Nov. 2022 The latest $400 million weapons package also includes funding to refurbish HAWK air defense missiles, 1,100 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems, and 40 armored riverine boats. Paul Best, Fox News, 9 Nov. 2022 Along with the Netherlands, the Pentagon is splitting the tab to refurbish 90 older tanks originally built for the Czechoslovak Army. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 9 Nov. 2022 Mountainlands Community Housing Trust will use the funds to refurbish two Park City apartment complexes. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Nov. 2022 Around half of the family’s properties are in need of further repairs and maintenance, and a 10-year project to refurbish Buckingham Palace is forecast to cost some £369 million, the palace’s last financial report said. Alistair Macdonald, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'refurbish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of refurbish was in 1611


Dictionary Entries Near refurbish

Cite this Entry

“Refurbish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


re·​fur·​bish ri-ˈfər-bish How to pronounce refurbish (audio)
: to brighten or freshen up : renovate
refurbish an old house
refurbishment noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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