Origin of polish

1250–1300; Middle English polishen < Middle French poliss-, long stem of polir < Latin polīre to polish; see -ish2

SYNONYMS FOR polish

8 shine, gleam. Polish, gloss, luster, sheen refer to a smooth, shining, or bright surface from which light is reflected. Polish suggests the smooth, bright reflection often produced by friction: rubbed to a high polish. Gloss suggests a superficial, hard smoothness characteristic of lacquered, varnished, or enameled surfaces: a gloss on oilcloth, on paper. Luster denotes the characteristic quality of the light reflected from the surfaces of certain materials (pearls, silk, wax, freshly cut metals, etc.): a pearly luster. Sheen, sometimes poetical, suggests a glistening brightness such as that reflected from the surface of silk or velvet, or from furniture oiled and hand-polished: a rich velvety sheen.

Related forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for polish off (1 of 3)

polish off


verb (tr, adverb) informal

to finish or process completely
to dispose of or kill; eliminate

British Dictionary definitions for polish off (2 of 3)

polish

/ (ˈpɒlɪʃ) /

verb

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

noun

Derived Forms

polishable, adjectivepolisher, noun

Word Origin for polish

C13 polis, from Old French polir, from Latin polīre to polish

British Dictionary definitions for polish off (3 of 3)

Polish

/ (ˈpəʊlɪʃ) /

adjective

of, relating to, or characteristic of Poland, its people, or their language

noun

the official language of Poland, belonging to the West Slavonic branch of the Indo-European family
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

Idioms and Phrases with polish off (1 of 2)

polish off


Finish or dispose of, especially quickly and easily. For example, We polished off the pie in no time, or If everyone helps, we can polish off this job today. This usage, dating from the early 1800s, came from boxing, where it originally meant “to defeat an opponent quickly and easily.” By the 1830s it was used more generally.

Idioms and Phrases with polish off (2 of 2)

polish


In addition to the idioms beginning with polish

  • polish off
  • polish the apple

also see:

  • spit and polish
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.