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tarnish

Line breaks: tar|nish
Pronunciation: /ˈtɑːnɪʃ
 
/

Definition of tarnish in English:

verb

1Lose or cause to lose lustre, 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
become discoloured, discolour, stain, rust, oxidize, corrode, deteriorate;
become dull, lose its shine, lose its lustre, blacken, become black
dull, make dull, dim, blacken, make black, discolour, stain, rust, oxidize, corrode
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

noun

[mass noun] Back to top  
1Dullness of colour; loss of brightness.
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: he was removing tarnish from the candlesticks
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, tarnishing, blackening, film, patina
1.2Damage or harm done to something: the tarnish on Alan’s personal reputation
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

Origin

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

More
  • Silver that is not polished will tarnish, losing its lustre. The word goes back to French terne ‘dark, dull’. The metaphorical use, ‘to make less valuable or respected’, has been established since the 17th century. In 1805, on the eve of the Battle of Trafalgar, Lord Nelson prayed that God might grant them ‘a great and glorious victory; and may no misconduct in anyone tarnish it’.

Derivatives

tarnishable

1
adjective
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.

Words that rhyme with tarnish

garnish, varnish

Definition of tarnish in:

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