- 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 burnished
As a kid, you'd admired pictures of knights in burnished suits of armor.Whatever You Do Someone Will Die. A Short Story About Impossible Choices in Iraq
Nathan Bradley Bethea
August 31, 2014
We can never know how much of this was innate in him, or how much of was shaped and burnished in a dark, solitary cell.Full Text of President Obama's Eulogy for Nelson Mandela
The Daily Beast
December 10, 2013
There was a once-grand dining room with mirrored walls and burnished chandeliers.Welcome to Woolwich, Where English Terrorists Say Sorry While They Murder
May 23, 2013
But if Reagan burnished the anti-intellectual brand, Bush has now wrecked it.Revenge of the Nerds
December 8, 2008
The floor was scrubbed to whiteness, the very stove was burnished.Way of the Lawless
The reins were of silk, and the chariot shone with burnished gold.Imogen
The moonlight caught her grey hair and burnished it to an aureole of silver.Jan and Her Job
L. Allen Harker
From behind the hills peeped the edge of the moon—a sickle of burnished copper.The Sea-Hawk
Her hair streaming on her shoulders glinted like burnished gold.Tales of Unrest
- to make or become shiny or smooth by friction; polish
- a shiny finish; lustre
Word Origin and History for burnished
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.