- to make smooth and glossy, especially by rubbing or friction: to polish a brass doorknob.
- to render finished, refined, or elegant: His speech needs polishing.
- to become smooth and glossy through polishing: a flooring that polishes easily.
- Archaic. to become refined or elegant.
- a substance used to give smoothness or gloss: shoe polish.
- the act of polishing.
- state of being polished.
- smoothness and gloss of surface.
- superiority of manner or execution; refinement; elegance: the polish of a professional singer.
- polish off, Informal.
- to finish or dispose of quickly: They polished off a gallon of ice cream between them.
- to subdue or get rid of someone: The fighter polished off his opponent in the first round.
- polish up, to improve; refine: She took lessons to polish up her speech.
Origin of polish
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- to make or become smooth and shiny by polishing
- (when intr, foll by on) to study or practise until adept at; improvepolish up your spelling; he's polishing up on his German
- to make or become smooth and shiny by rubbing, esp with wax or an abrasive
- (tr) to make perfect or complete
- to make or become elegant or refined
- a finish or gloss
- the act of polishing or the condition of having been polished
- a substance used to produce a smooth and shiny, often protective surface
- elegance or refinement, esp in style, manner, etc
- of, relating to, or characteristic of Poland, its people, or their language
- the official language of Poland, belonging to the West Slavonic branch of the Indo-European family
Word Origin and History for polish up
early 14c., polischen "make smooth," from Old French poliss-, present participle stem of polir (12c.) "to polish, decorate, see to one's appearance," from Latin polire "to polish, make smooth; decorate, embellish;" figuratively "refine, improve," said to be from Proto-Indo-European *pel- "to thrust, strike, drive" (via the notion of fulling cloth). The sense of "free from coarseness, to refine" first recorded in English mid-14c. Related: Polished; polishing. Slang polish off "finish" is 1837, from notion of applying a coat of polish being the final step in a piece of work.
1590s, "absence of coarseness," from polish (v.). From 1704 as "act of polishing;" 1819 as "substance used in polishing."