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 wanting to tarnish Baird’s or the Smithsonian’s reputation, Stimpson announced in 1858 that the Megatherium Club would disband. Smithsonian, "The Hard-Drinking Early Smithsonian Naturalists of the Megatherium Club," 4 Sep. 2019 After a sleepy summer, the longtime leader launched a blistering assault on an Israeli TV channel, accusing it of tarnishing him, slandering the country and fomenting anti-Semitism. Washington Post, "Israeli PM infuses campaign with anti-media incitement," 2 Sep. 2019 City officials — including Mayor London Breed, members of the Board of Supervisors and employees in the public defender’s office — saw the leak as an attempt by police who didn’t like Adachi to tarnish his legacy. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "Adachi family hopes new report will help with ‘restoring his reputation’," 22 Aug. 2019 How about Butler, whose reputation as a team player is tarnished after this past season in Minnesota and then Philadelphia? Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Why the Nuggets aren’t “scared” of the Western Conference’s arms race," 22 June 2019 Harrison leaders insist the city’s reputation is being unfairly tarnished by a small group of people. Washington Post, "Arkansas, home to supremacist groups, weighs hate crimes law," 26 Aug. 2019 But their appearance in the newly public papers adds to the list of those who could be tarnished by their apparent association with him. Bloomberg, The Mercury News, "Jeffrey Epstein sent underage girl to Governor and Senator for sex, she testified," 10 Aug. 2019 Photo: Vincent Yu/Associated Press Beijing had anointed Mrs. Lam, 62, to build bridges with the public, after her unpopular predecessor was tarnished by his role in quashing the 2014 protests. Natasha Khan, WSJ, "Hong Kong Upheaval Puts Beijing in a Bind," 16 June 2019 Too large to ignore With mercurial partners like Trump in the offing, in what could potentially be the UK's biggest post-Brexit trade deal, the whole project looks more tarnished by the day. Nic Robertson, CNN, "The week that finally laid bare the Brexit myths," 9 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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

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

3 Nov 2019

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
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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