- to polish (a surface) by friction.
- to make smooth and bright.
- Engraving. to flatten and enlarge the dots of (a halftone) by rubbing with a tool.
- gloss; brightness; luster: the burnish of brass andirons.
Origin of burnish
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for burnish
Sandoval has also managed to burnish his image with a patina of integrity in the scandal-scarred Silver State.Nevada Guv Faces Fans and Foes in Reelection
March 18, 2014
This means that even women who are not employed in factories will get the chance to burnish career-building skills.Women: The World’s Best Investment
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February 19, 2013
At this point, it is the only way for the Brothers to burnish their revolutionary credentials.Morsi's Miscalculation
November 26, 2012
For Palin, of course, Israel also offers a chance to burnish her famously weak foreign policy credentials.What's Palin Doing in Israel?
March 21, 2011
In 1961, Kennedy took a Latin American trip to burnish credentials for a 1962 Senate bid.Inside the Kennedy Death Threats
June 14, 2010
The burnish was gone from every part of the landscape, and a mild twilight reigned.Feats on the Fiord
The perfect night sky shone coldly with the burnish of its million stars.The Heart of Unaga
Their first care was to burnish up their armour and their weapons.The Seven Champions of Christendom
W. H. G. Kingston
Burnish them if necessary, and you will see a band of light reflected from each wire.The Aeroplane Speaks
This was a great avenue of trees, lined with the burnish of copper beeches.The Spell of Belgium
- to make or become shiny or smooth by friction; polish
- a shiny finish; lustre
Word Origin and History for burnish
early 14c., from Old French burniss- present participle stem of burnir, metathesis of brunir "to shine, gleam, sparkle" (trans.), "to polish, make sparkle, make bright, shine," from brun "brown; polished," from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German brun, Old Norse brunn "bright, polished; brown;" see brown (adj.)). The connection to "brown" might be explained if the original objects in mind were wooden ones. Related: Burnished; burnishing.