re·​fur·​bish | \ ri-ˈfər-bish How to pronounce refurbish (audio) \
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 How to pronounce refurbishment (audio) \ 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 Jay Janicki, the theater’s production manager, returned to 42nd Street after a monthlong furlough, using the downtime to refurbish parts of the building. John Leland, New York Times, "Their Buzzy Off Broadway Play Shut Down. Here’s What They Did Next.," 8 Oct. 2020 The company ultimately selected a three-story brick building at 900 Broadway for its headquarters, spending $1.2 million to refurbish it. Brandon Lingle,, "A Grunt Style Reckoning: A look inside San Antonio apparel maker’s rowdy past, near-death experience and current leadership battle," 8 Oct. 2020 The repair timeline likewise will vary: Some units may be shut down for a few days, while others could take months to fully refurbish. al, "Hurricane Sally housing crunch: Pain is clear, but the numbers aren’t," 30 Sep. 2020 Instead, Fonseca asked him to head up the capital campaign to refurbish the Phoenix's Chatham Arch building. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, "Bryan Fonseca, longtime Indianapolis theater director, dies after contracting coronavirus," 17 Sep. 2020 Some of her best customers who refurbish their wardrobes annually at Eccentricity didn’t travel to Wellfleet this year because of concerns about Covid. Carol Hymowitz,, "Smaller Clothing Retailers Face A Tough Road Back," 16 Sep. 2020 Funding through the CARES Act may also be used to provide food to those who are geographically isolated and to buy or refurbish clinic facilities to be used to test, diagnose and treat tribal members. Lauren J. Mapp, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Local tribes to receive $3.5 million in CARES Act funding for housing," 9 Sep. 2020 Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have repaid £2.4 million (around $3.16 million) of public money that was used to refurbish their residence on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the couple said Monday. NBC News, "Royals Harry and Meghan repay $3M of public funds used to renovate their residence," 7 Sep. 2020 The room has been closed off for service for many years, though after the death of Leah Chase the family discussed plans to refurbish it. Ian Mcnulty,, "See what’s new (and revived) for menu and bar at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant," 28 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for refurbish

Time Traveler

The first known use of refurbish was in 1611

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Last Updated

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Refurbish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for refurbish


How to pronounce refurbish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of refurbish

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

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