[ pol-ish ]
/ ˈpɒl ɪʃ /
Save This Word!
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.
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.
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Origin of polish
First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English polishen, from Middle French poliss-, long stem of polir, from Latin polīre “to polish”; see -ish2
synonym study for polish
8. 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.
OTHER WORDS FROM polish
pol·ish·er, nounde·pol·ish, verb (used with object)in·ter·pol·ish, verb (used with object)o·ver·pol·ish, verb (used with object)
pre·pol·ish, noun, verb (used with object)re·pol·ish, verb, noun
Other definitions for polish (2 of 2)
[ poh-lish ]
/ ˈpoʊ lɪʃ /
of, relating to, or characteristic of Poland, its inhabitants, or their language.
a Slavic language, the principal language of Poland. Abbreviation: Pol
OTHER WORDS FROM Polish
anti-Polish, noun, adjectivenon-Polish, adjective, nounpre-Polish, adjectivepro-Polish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use polish in a sentence
He wrote verses with elegance in French, Spanish and Italian, and was a polisher of his native language in a barbarous age.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell
Truth is his inspirer, and earnestness the polisher of his sentences.A Plea for Captain John Brown|Henry David Thoreau
Then rub carefully and energetically every inch of the floor with a heavy polisher until the polish is restored.The Library of Work and Play: Housekeeping|Elizabeth Hale Gilman
"Oh, go to—glory, you pig-iron polisher," Captain Scraggs tossed back at him over his shoulder—and honour was satisfied.Captain Scraggs|Peter B. Kyne
On Wednesday mornings the polisher opened the door, because Corentine was dressing her mistress.The Immortal|Alphonse Daudet
British Dictionary definitions for polish (1 of 2)
/ (ˈpɒlɪʃ) /
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
See also polish off, polish up
Derived forms of polishpolishable, adjectivepolisher, noun
Word Origin for polish
C13 polis, from Old French polir, from Latin polīre to polish
British Dictionary definitions for polish (2 of 2)
/ (ˈpəʊlɪʃ) /
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with polish
In addition to the idioms beginning with polish
- polish off
- polish the apple
- 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.