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.
- tar·nish·a·ble, adjective
- an·ti·tar·nish, adjective
- an·ti·tar·nish·ing, adjective
- non·tar·nish·a·ble, adjective
- non·tar·nished, adjective
- non·tar·nish·ing, adjective
- un·tar·nish·a·ble, adjective
- un·tar·nished, adjective
- un·tar·nish·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use tarnish in a sentence
While his reputation has been tarnished, Shadman is pushing back.
Bill Cosby, it seems, can only be seen in two registers: sainted family man of a much-loved sitcom, or fallen, tarnished villain.
Well, it drew a distinction all right, and it was one that tarnished the GOP brand for some time.Democrats' Midterm Wish: The Government Shutdown That Won't Happen | Ron Christie | September 3, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
His multiple licensing deals and a lower-priced collection for JC Penney tarnished his brand.When Fashion Met Art: Andy Warhol & Halston’s Decades-Long Friendship | Raquel Laneri | May 21, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
By fumbling that final big decision, Ferguson may have tarnished his legacy forever.
In a few minutes, however, he looked at the blade of his knife and saw that it was slightly tarnished.The Border Rifles | Gustave Aimard
The tone of the voice would last when the gold of all else became faded or tarnished.You Never Know Your Luck, Complete | Gilbert Parker
It is a real misfortune that many good words have been tarnished by the handling of the illiterate.English: Composition and Literature | W. F. (William Franklin) Webster
The battle of Bull Run stung the loyal masses of the North, and filled them with a determination to redeem their tarnished honor.The Boys of '61 | Charles Carleton Coffin.
Fabio took the necklace—the pearls he fancied looked tarnished—and did as his wife had directed.Dream Tales and Prose Poems | Ivan Turgenev
British Dictionary definitions for tarnish
to lose or cause to lose the shine, esp by exposure to air or moisture resulting in surface oxidation; discolour: silver tarnishes quickly
to stain or become stained; taint or spoil: a fraud that tarnished his reputation
a tarnished condition, surface, or film
- tarnishable, adjective
- tarnisher, noun
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