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

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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 Not to mention the brand tarnished by growing activist (and consumer) revolt. Justin Worland, Time, "The Finance Industry Groggily Awakens to Climate Change," 30 Jan. 2020 Your New England Patriots have been pilloried and tarnished by the Spygate scandal of 2007. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Punishment for Astros shows MLB’s sign-stealing days are over — and the Red Sox are next," 13 Jan. 2020 But that wholesome image, a welcome antidote to a sport tarnished globally by scandal, risks being undercut by a festering doping problem that the country has been slow to address. Davidde Corran, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Colombia’s cycling ascent undermined by widespread doping," 23 Sep. 2019 Since his death in 2010, the former Argentine president has seen his legacy tarnished by allegations of corruption. Joshua Goodman, The Seattle Times, "South America bloc’s woes leave architectural gem forlorn," 8 Jan. 2019 But his reputation was fatally tarnished because he was not seen to be a credible candidate, or to have been true to his own ethnic group. Gabrielle Lynch, Quartz Africa, "In Kenya elite collaboration is more important than ethnicity for political power and stability," 20 Feb. 2020 The airmail program would eventually be tarnished by scandal, but it is credited with launching the US aviation industry, including the companies that would become today’s Boeing, United Technologies Corporation, and United Airlines. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "What it took to make Boeing’s Starliner fly," 20 Dec. 2019 Strahan has said the play may not have been worth it, given the way the moment has been tarnished. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Nearly two decades after Brett Favre surrendered sack to Michael Strahan, Mark Gastineau feels record should still be his," 12 Feb. 2020 The new, pastel-colored leaf Swift has been supposedly turning over is now tarnished with the dark, paranoid undertones of the past. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "Taylor Swift, I was finally forgetting about your 'Reputation.' Now 'Look What You Made Me Do'," 1 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Over time, however, its beauty can become blackened with tarnish. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Clean Tarnished Brass," 20 Jan. 2020 Corrosion, also known as tarnish, is the green buildup that appears on copper over time. Amy Mitchell, Country Living, "How to Clean Copper so It Goes From Green to Great," 14 Jan. 2020 The extra fine, microscopic abrasive particles in this Simichrome polish scrubs away oils and tarnishes. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "The best cleaning products to freshen up your home," 21 Mar. 2018 Try baking soda: For heavier tarnish, mix three parts baking soda to one part water. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Your Jewelry Like a Pro," 7 May 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for tarnish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tarnish

Last Updated

23 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tarnish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tarnish. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for tarnish

tarnish

verb
How to pronounce tarnish (audio)

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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