- to dull the luster of (a metallic surface), especially by oxidation; discolor.
- to diminish or destroy the purity of; stain; sully: The scandal tarnished his reputation.
- to grow dull or discolored; lose luster.
- to become sullied.
- a tarnished coating.
- tarnished condition; discoloration; alteration of the luster of a metal.
- a stain or blemish.
Origin of tarnish
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tarnish
He said Iran pays lobbyists in Washington to discredit reports by Iranian exiles and tarnish their image.White House Debunks Iran Nuclear Explosion, But Iran Denies Planting Story
January 29, 2013
In response, Netanyahu said Olmert was trying to tarnish his administration ahead of parliamentary elections next week.Explosive Allegations against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
January 16, 2013
And using charges themselves false in order to tarnish his reputation?A False Charge Against Fareed Zakaria (UPDATED)
August 14, 2012
Banville may tarnish his hero a bit, particularly by tormenting him with alcohol.Can Pulp Win the Booker?
September 7, 2011
The moment anybody peers at you you show a tarnish, and get put off.Love and Lucy
Maurice Henry Hewlett
Was there not gold enough in his hair before, that he should tarnish it with this crown?Vera
So many of us tarnish our victories by the manner in which we display them.My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year
John Henry Jowett
Though the drops were salt, they would not tarnish the gold.The Maidens' Lodge
Emily Sarah Holt
No one is trying to tarnish this person; no one has thought of it.The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories
- to lose or cause to lose the shine, esp by exposure to air or moisture resulting in surface oxidation; discoloursilver tarnishes quickly
- to stain or become stained; taint or spoila fraud that tarnished his reputation
- a tarnished condition, surface, or film
Word Origin and History for tarnish
1590s, from present participle stem of Middle French ternir "dull the luster or brightness of, make dim" (15c.), probably from Old French terne (adj.) "dull, dark," from a Germanic source cognate with Old High German tarnjan "to conceal, hide," Old English dyrnan "to hide, darken," from Proto-Germanic *darnjaz (see dern). Figurative sense is from 1690s. Related: Tarnished; tarnishing.
1713, from tarnish (v.).