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 The legacy of Kristina’s grandfather was later tarnished when he was accused (many say unfairly) of Nazi sympathies. Kate Stone Lombardi, Good Housekeeping, "Grandparents Have Had Enough of Your Weird Baby Names," 21 Apr. 2020 Beautiful moments were tarnished with the residue of trauma. Priscilla Blossom, Glamour, "‘Giving Birth Left Me With PTSD’," 7 Apr. 2020 His legacy at Kentucky was tarnished by NCAA infractions. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Former Kentucky coach Eddie Sutton to be inducted into basketball hall of fame," 4 Apr. 2020 Their 2017 World Series victory will forever be tarnished. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "A’s vs. Astros: It’s more than just baseball," 25 Feb. 2020 Would ’s legacy be somehow tarnished by a minor-key spin-off? Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Why Better Call Saul Is TV’s Best Show," 24 Feb. 2020 By the early 1950s, Bernstein’s reputation was tarnished. Jonathan Rosenberg, WSJ, "Five Best: Jonathan Rosenberg on Music, Politics and Society," 7 Feb. 2020 This season may be the team’s best chance, but if it’s not meant to be, Kershaw isn’t worried about that tarnishing his career. Los Angeles Times, "The Check-In: Quarantined season? No thanks, says Clayton Kershaw," 19 Apr. 2020 All of them saw their careers implode and legacies tarnished in 2017 or 2018. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Artists implicated by #MeToo and scandals are making comebacks. Should audiences and venues welcome them back?," 12 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That said, the string of embarrassing Evans disclosures is undoing much good work in the city that scrubbed away the tarnish of its past government scandals. Robert Mccartney, Washington Post, "Harm to D.C.’s image will only grow as long as Jack Evans clings to council seat.," 10 Nov. 2019 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

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

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

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