tarnish

verb
tar·​nish | \ ˈtär-nish How to pronounce tarnish (audio) \
tarnished; tarnishing; tarnishes

Definition of tarnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to dull or destroy the luster of by or as if by air, dust, or dirt : soil, stain
2a : to detract from the good quality of : vitiate his fine dreams now slightly tarnished
b : to bring disgrace on : sully the scandal has tarnished his reputation

tarnish

noun

Definition of tarnish (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that tarnishes especially : a film of chemically altered material on the surface of a metal (such as silver)

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Other Words from tarnish

Verb

tarnishable \ ˈtär-​ni-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce tarnishable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for tarnish

Synonyms: Verb

blemish, darken, mar, poison, spoil, stain, taint, touch, vitiate

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Examples of tarnish in a Sentence

Verb

Some foods will tarnish silver. The scandal tarnished his reputation.

Noun

a polish that removes tarnish
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There is an obvious irony in a Republican campaign being tarnished by allegations of election fraud after the GOP spent last month peddling unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in Florida and Arizona. Dylan Scott, Vox, "What we know about the alleged election fraud plot in North Carolina," 8 Dec. 2018 The choice of locale hearkened back to the men’s first meeting two decades ago, when Garcetti was a young councilman representing the area and Moore was a captain assigned to remake a Rampart Division tarnished by scandal. David Zahniser, latimes.com, "Garcetti and new LAPD chief pick make first community appearance in Echo Park," 6 June 2018 The Ghosn legacy began to look tarnished in October 2017 when Nissan admitted to violating Japan’s rules on vehicle inspections, a problem that extended back into Mr. Ghosn’s reign. Phred Dvorak, WSJ, "Get Paid Well But Don’t Let It Show? Nissan Probe Reveals Contours of Ghosn Case," 29 Nov. 2018 Perhaps most shrewdly, Macron recognized that Europe's other dominant leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, would be permanently tarnished in Trump's mind after fostering deeply personal ties to President Barack Obama. Kevin Liptak And Jeremy Diamond, CNN, "Trump begins state visit with Macron discussing his polls," 24 Apr. 2018 But immigration critics quickly picked up the image and used it for their own purposes, mainly to attack Merkel but tarnishing Modamani in the process. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Is Germany’s bold new law a way to clean up the internet or is it stifling free expression?," 8 Apr. 2018 Over 100 years of rich history, deeply ingrained at St Andrew's has now been tarnished with the signing of a new naming rights deal on the stadium. SI.com, "St Andrew's Undergoes Ridiculous Name Change as Birmingham City Sell Out in New Rights Deal," 14 June 2018 His willingness to compromise his principles for the sake of politics at the height of the post-9/11 torture debate substantially weakened its power and ultimately tarnished his moral legacy. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "Sen. John McCain’s complicated moral legacy on torture," 26 Aug. 2018 Others said their parents worry letting them drive will tarnish their reputation with neighbors. Fortune, "Saudi Arabia Is About to Let Women Drive. Here's Why Some Will Keep Their Driving Licenses a Secret," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With the pendant's many curves and ridges, cleaning off a bit of tarnish is more difficult than preventing it in the first place. Alyssa Haak, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear to Death: My Vintage Kale Necklace," 17 Apr. 2019 Boeing’s stock has been battered as investors fret about the company’s liability for a system possibly tripped up by a single point of failure — the sensor reading — along with tarnish to the 737 brand. Mary Schlangenstein, The Seattle Times, "Boeing to hold global conference call with airlines that fly 737 MAX model that was involved in crash," 20 Nov. 2018 For heavier tarnish, mix a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Silver and Prevent Tarnish," 20 Nov. 2018 Rub the mixture on your copper item in circular motions and repeat until the entire surface is tarnish-free. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Copper and Make It Shine Like New Again," 4 May 2018 The Swedish Academy won’t name a Nobel laureate in literature this year, depriving the book industry of one of its main annual promotional events, and acknowledging the tarnish on the highest honor in letters. Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, WSJ, "Swedish Academy Won’t Award Nobel Prize in Literature This Year," 4 May 2018 For heavier tarnish, mix three parts baking soda to one part water. Wet the silver and apply the cleaner with a soft, lint-free cloth. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Every Type of Jewelry," 9 Mar. 2018 But the flood of bad news has put a serious tarnish on the brand just as key competitors like Hyundai, Volkswagen, General Motors and others start bringing their own long-range models to market. NBC News, "Tesla recalls almost half the cars it ever built, as shares tank and Musk's billions shrink," 30 Mar. 2018 Each ornament features a three-dimensional design with a tarnish-resistant silver finish. Ann Norman, cleveland.com, "Lolly the Trolley returns to Medina Candlelight Walk Nov. 17-19," 3 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tarnish.' 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 tarnish

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1684, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tarnish

Verb

Middle English ternysshen, from Middle French terniss-, stem of ternir, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German tarnan to hide

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Statistics for tarnish

Last Updated

5 May 2019

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Time Traveler for tarnish

The first known use of tarnish was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for tarnish

tarnish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of tarnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become or cause (metal) to become dull and not shiny
: to damage or ruin the good quality of (something, such as a person's reputation, image, etc.)

tarnish

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tarnish (Entry 2 of 2)

: a thin layer on the surface of metal which makes the metal look dull

tarnish

verb
tar·​nish | \ ˈtär-nish How to pronounce tarnish (audio) \
tarnished; tarnishing

Kids Definition of tarnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make or become dull, dim, or discolored
2 : to bring disgrace or ruin The scandal tarnished his reputation.

tarnish

noun

Kids Definition of tarnish (Entry 2 of 2)

: a surface coating formed during tarnishing

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Comments on tarnish

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