verb (used with object)

to restore to freshness of appearance or good condition (often followed by up): to furbish a run-down neighborhood; to furbish up one's command of a foreign language.
to polish.

Origin of furbish

1350–1400; Middle English furbishen < Middle French forbiss-, long stem of forbir to polish, clean < Germanic; compare Old High German furban
Related formsfur·bish·er, nounun·fur·bished, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for furbished

Historical Examples of furbished

  • I dare say it was sad stuff, furbished up at a moment's notice.

  • “It is such a pretty room if it were only furbished off a bit,” Tom said once.

    Our Bessie

    Rosa Nouchette Carey

  • His mother marveled why Saul furbished himself up so carefully that evening.

    The Incendiary

    W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy

  • The armourer had furbished up the old halberds of the Company, which, with the banners, are quite significant features.

    Franz Hals

    Edgcumbe Staley

  • The case is new, has the smell of new leather; and the diamond clasp looks recently furbished, even to a little chalk about it.

British Dictionary definitions for furbished


verb (tr)

to make bright by polishing; burnish
(often foll by up) to improve the appearance or condition of; renovate; restore
Derived Formsfurbisher, noun

Word Origin for furbish

C14: from Old French fourbir to polish, of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for furbished



late 14c. (implied mid-13c. in surname Furbisher), from Old French forbiss-, present participle stem of forbir "to polish, burnish; mend, repair" (12c., Modern French fourbir), from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German furban "to polish"), from PIE root *prep- "to appear." Related: Furbished; furbishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper