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 tarnish (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 Ever since it was announced that Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, will be sitting down with Oprah Winfrey for a tell-all interview, the British press has seemingly accelerated its mission to tarnish her reputation. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Meghan Markle’s Suits Costar Patrick J. Adams Just Slammed the Royal Family on Twitter," 5 Mar. 2021 Even at this late date, some who knew Jefferson believed that publishing such a text would tarnish his name. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "What Thomas Jefferson Could Never Understand About Jesus," 28 Dec. 2020 Gloopy special effects tarnish the action scenes, which pile up higher in the third hour. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Zack Snyder's Justice League is just as bad and twice as long: Review," 15 Mar. 2021 That makes this a particularly bad time to tarnish Jeep’s image. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Jeep owes the Cherokee Nation; it’s time to pay up," 5 Mar. 2021 But a boycott could arguably tarnish Beijing’s concerted push to promote winter sports throughout Chinese society. Time, "There Are Mounting Calls for a Boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Will It Be Effective?," 9 Mar. 2021 Among other things, the technical glitch could tarnish Indian stock exchanges’ reputation at a time when foreign investors have been flooding the markets and taking them to historic highs. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz India, "A technical snag at India’s largest stock exchange has the government worried," 1 Mar. 2021 Not only did the crisis tarnish its image, the crashes cost the company more than $19 billion. Rachel Sandler, Forbes, "Boeing Fined $6.6 Million For Failing To Comply With FAA Rules," 26 Feb. 2021 The platform’s copyright issues tarnish that promise. Save this story for later. Ana Diaz, Wired, "Twitch’s DMCA Takedowns Threaten to Drive Musicians Away," 24 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bulldogs coach Mark Few refused to let Monday night's loss tarnish a remarkable 2020-21 season. NBC News, "Baylor denies Gonzaga's bid for perfection, wins first men's basketball championship," 5 Apr. 2021 But the damage, and the image tarnish, had been done. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: GameStop drama has no real winner, only proves both sides can play the game," 1 Feb. 2021 Dip a soft cloth in the solution and use it to rub the silver to remove the tarnish. Lauren Smith Mcdonough And Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Your Jewelry Like a Pro," 20 Jan. 2021 The Texas attorney general who tried to orchestrate President Trump's last stand spent most of his career under indictment for state securities fraud, but his closeness to the president had buffed that tarnish. Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, "Ken Paxton has had Trump’s back. But the Texas attorney general’s latest gambit has failed.," 12 Dec. 2020 In a speech on Oct. 24, days before the financial-technology giant was set to go public, Mr. Ma cited Mr. Xi’s words in what top government officials saw as an effort to burnish his own image and tarnish that of regulators, these people said. Jing Yang And Lingling Wei, WSJ, "China’s President Xi Jinping Pulled Plug on Jack Ma’s Ant IPO," 12 Nov. 2020 Our tester also did not notice any tarnish after wearing the 360 Ring daily for months, a testament to its quality. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "The 10 best places you can buy jewelry online," 26 Oct. 2020 Save yourself the stress and use a silver polish because they’re designed to clean and reduce the amount of tarnish that returns. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "How to Clean Silver Before You Set the Thanksgiving Table," 23 Oct. 2020 Once the noticeable tarnish is removed, stop brushing! Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "How to Clean Gold Jewelry and Decor," 4 Sep. 2020

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

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tarnish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tarnish. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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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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