Definition of tarnish in English:

tarnish

Syllabification: tar·nish
Pronunciation: /ˈtärniSH
 
/

verb

1Lose or cause to lose luster, especially as a result of exposure to air or moisture: [no object]: silver tarnishes too easily [with object]: lemon juice would tarnish the gilded metal
More example sentences
  • It can tarnish silverware and discolor copper and brass utensils.
  • The still waters have lost their clarity, tarnished by the ominous clouds that overhang the harbour.
  • Once upon a time it had been gilded, but now the gilding seemed to be tarnishing and flaking - evidently no one came in here to touch up these days.
Synonyms
discolor, rust, oxidize, corrode, stain, dull, blacken
1.1Make or become less valuable or respected: [with object]: his regime had not been tarnished by human rights abuses
More example sentences
  • But all the gold and the glory will be tarnished if basic rights - including free speech - are lacking.
  • In science, reputation is all and it is easily tarnished.
  • But that also might be a result of canny marketing: no sponsor would wish her to tarnish her image by playing in - and perhaps losing - too many tournaments.
Synonyms
sully, blacken, stain, blemish, blot, taint, soil, ruin, disgrace, mar, damage, harm, hurt, undermine, dishonor, stigmatize
literary besmirch

noun

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1Dullness of color; loss of brightness.
More example sentences
  • Silver can be oxidized to give the effect of tarnish, and this coloration was popular in Europe and North America during the 19th century, when it was also produced by using sulphurs.
  • I held my memories like treasures in a vault and polished them well, terrified that unless I tended them daily they would disappear under the tarnish of time.
  • That'll take the tarnish off any glamorous finish!
1.1A film or stain formed on an exposed surface of a mineral or metal.
More example sentences
  • They help dissolve hard water deposits from shower doors, mild rust stains and soap film and remove tarnish from brass and copper.
  • To remove heavy tarnish, difficult stains and corrosion: wash in hot, soapy water or a weak ammonia and water solution and rinse.
  • They physically scratch off dirt, stains and tarnish via friction as you rub the surface.
Synonyms
discoloration, oxidation, rust; film
1.2Damage or harm done to something.
More example sentences
  • Will he ask the World Economic Forum to release the tape to help clear the air and remove the unfair tarnish?
  • Will the tarnish of this film ever wipe off his movie career?
  • Admittedly, there's nothing wrong with her performance - it's heartfelt and appealing - but this kind of work is unlikely to remove the tarnish on her reputation.
Synonyms
smear, stain, blemish, blot, taint, stigma

Origin

late Middle English (as a verb): from French terniss-, lengthened stem of ternir, from terne 'dark, dull'.

Derivatives

tarnishable

adjective
More example sentences
  • Zinc is a white, lustrous, tarnishable metal which has a relatively low abundance in nature.
  • Of course any band name is tarnishable if the quality control goes.
  • Optionally, and particularly when a tarnishable metal or alloy is used, for example silver, a tarnish inhibiting composition is included in the mixture of metallic and plastics particles.

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