made smooth and glossy: a figurine of polished mahogany.
naturally smooth and glossy: polished pebbles on the beach.
refined, cultured, or elegant: a polished manner.
flawless; skillful; excellent: a polished conversationalist.

Nearby words

  1. polish off,
  2. polish people's republic,
  3. polish the apple,
  4. polish up,
  5. polish wheat,
  6. polished rice,
  7. polit.,
  8. polit. econ.,
  9. politburo,
  10. polite

Origin of polished

First recorded in 1325–75, polished is from the Middle English word polist. See polish, -ed2

Related formsun·pol·ished, adjectivewell-pol·ished, adjective



verb (used with object)

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.

verb (used without object)

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.

Verb Phrases

polish off, Informal.
  1. to finish or dispose of quickly: They polished off a gallon of ice cream between them.
  2. 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

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

1. shine, brighten, burnish, buff, smooth. 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

Examples from the Web for polished

British Dictionary definitions for polished



accomplisheda polished actor
impeccably or professionally donea polished performance
(of rice) having had the outer husk removed by milling



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

Derived Formspolishable, adjectivepolisher, noun

Word Origin for polish

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



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
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 polished
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with polished


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.