Definition of burnish in English:


Line breaks: bur|nish
Pronunciation: /ˈbəːnɪʃ


[with object] (usually as adjective burnished)
  • 1Polish (something, especially metal) by rubbing: highly burnished armour
    More example sentences
    • His armor, once immaculately burnished gold, was now tarnished and dented in a dozen locations.
    • Sunlight tracked a path of sparkling white highlights toward the skyline, a light as harsh as if it were reflecting off burnished metal.
    • On shelves and bookcases around the flat I could see antique spanners, old sextants, shiny brass things, burnished steel telescopes.
    polish (up), shine, brighten, rub up/down, buff (up), smooth, glaze
    archaic furbish
  • 1.1Enhance or improve: a man who took advantage of any opportunity to burnish his image
    More example sentences
    • Bonds hasn't exactly burnished his image, either.
    • They have thought constantly about each other, but will the real person live up to the idealized image that was burnished into their minds for ten years?
    • It not only burnished the family image but was also his one surpassing business triumph.


[in singular] Back to top  
  • The shine on a highly polished surface.
    More example sentences
    • She wiped them off and underneath the furry tendrils of dust, the burnish of the old polish still gleamed.
    • By the time Israel Zangwill's play of that name was published in 1908, the ‘melting pot’ had acquired all the burnish of an American ideal.
    • And beyond the glitter of opulence, it must also glow with the burnish of remembrance, light up with the luster of nostalgia.



More example sentences
  • Finally, burnishing and polishing of the wood is carried out with burnishers and abrasives of varying texture and refinement.
  • With these first impressions, I work back into the plate with a scraper, burnisher and emery paper to enhance the lights and accent the motif.
  • For instance, a manufacturer may recommend that its floor covering be maintained with a high-speed burnisher.


Middle English: from Old French burniss-, lengthened stem of burnir, variant of brunir 'make brown', from brun 'brown'.

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a small amount; a little