re·​fur·​bish | \ri-ˈfər-bish \
refurbished; refurbishing; refurbishes

Definition of refurbish 

transitive verb

: to brighten or freshen up : renovate

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Other Words from refurbish

refurbisher noun
refurbishment \ ri-​ˈfər-​bish-​mənt \ 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 an Old High German word 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.

Examples of refurbish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Preservationists and residents wanted to see the buildings — which were built between the 1900 and 1920 — refurbished, and ideally turned into affordable housing. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit City Council to vote on preserving Ilitch-owned, blighted Cass buildings," 29 June 2018 The town received authorization from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to refurbish the plant in July 2016. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Officer Sworn In, Fedor Recognized, WPCA Budget Presented," 23 Apr. 2018 As for power exports, Ontario’s plan to refurbish its nuclear plants creates an opportunity for additional sales, Martel said., "Chinese Demand Thwarts Hydro-Quebec Plans to Add Foreign Assets," 1 Mar. 2018 According to The Hill, Pruitt spent at least $9,600 on office decor in May, including for art frames and refurbishing a desk. Renae Reints, Fortune, "EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's Big Spending Listed All in One Place," 22 June 2018 The funds have been used to build and equip five schools and three kindergartens and refurbish a health clinic. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Mimi O’Hagan Devoted Her Retirement to Building Schools in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region," 8 June 2018 The program helps refurbish buildings and gives grants for new digital projection and sound equipment. Russell Contreras, The Christian Science Monitor, "Latino movie producer builds theaters in low-income California towns," 4 June 2018 Asking Lewis’ son-in-law if his father-in-law would have any recommendations as to where to get Big Red refurbished, they were put in touch with Patterson, the third-generation owner of Historic Harley Davidson in Topeka. Shaun Goodwin, kansascity, "How the heck did an Evel Knievel museum wind up in northeast Kansas?," 26 June 2018 Their latest project is the DeBruce, a 19th-century boardinghouse recently refurbished into an elegant 14-room country inn. Elizabeth Dunn, WSJ, "A Stress-Free Summer Weekend in the Catskills," 15 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of refurbish

1611, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near refurbish



refunding bond





Statistics for refurbish

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for refurbish

The first known use of refurbish was in 1611

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More Definitions for refurbish



English Language Learners Definition of refurbish

: to repair and make improvements to (something, such as a building)

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More from Merriam-Webster on refurbish

Spanish Central: Translation of refurbish

Nglish: Translation of refurbish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refurbish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on refurbish

What made you want to look up refurbish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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