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

The suit was filed in France, where tarnishing the image of the deceased is a crime. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Superfans: A Love Story," 9 Sep. 2019 Over and above decorum, many fear the repercussions of coming forward for example (getting blacklisted from the industry, losing work, having YOUR reputation tarnished). Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "The Voice's Jordan Pruitt Sues Disney and Her Former Manager Who She Says Abused Her as a Teen," 3 Sep. 2019 The goalkeeper, who's reputation was tarnished in the 2017/18 Champions League semi-final for Liverpool, has played 35 times for Besiktas this season. SI.com, "Loris Karius Requests Besiktas Stay Despite Tumultuous Loan Spell at the Club," 17 June 2019 Long plagued by outdated cars, sketchy, aging tracks and accusations of mismanagement, the commuter rail has seen its dwindling reputation tarnished further in recent months by mishaps and delays, some lasting hours in freezing, unheated cars. Lynnley Browning, Newsweek, "The Perils of Metro-North," 20 Feb. 2014 In that regard, the series has reached its timely thesis: To pursue the American dream is, too often, to corrupt it, eventually tarnishing the idea of success itself. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The Tragicomedy of the American Dream," 16 Sep. 2019 They are designed to intimidate them out of public service and tarnish their credibility. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al, "Roy Moore: Omar should go back ‘from whence she came’," 28 Aug. 2019 Mostly, Winston just wants to make sure nothing tarnishes his Princeton legacy — hence the fake ID thing. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: 13 Reasons Why Season 3 Recap," 24 Aug. 2019 But by the early 1960s, ‘Disneyland adjacent’ had become its own category—just outside the gates sprung up a village of motels and fast-casual dining that to Disney tarnished the Magic Kingdom brand. Angela Serratore, Curbed, "The magical (postmodern) world of Disney," 17 July 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

7 Oct 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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