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burnish

[bur-nish] /ˈbɜr nɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
1.
to polish (a surface) by friction.
2.
to make smooth and bright.
3.
Engraving. to flatten and enlarge the dots of (a halftone) by rubbing with a tool.
noun
4.
gloss; brightness; luster:
the burnish of brass andirons.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English burnissh < Anglo-French burniss-, Middle French bruniss- (long stem of burnir, brunir to darken, polish), equivalent to brun- brown + -iss- -ish2
Related forms
burnishable, adjective
burnishment, noun
unburnished, adjective
Synonyms
1. buff, shine.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for burnish
  • He must be careful not to trade away his goal of near-universal coverage to burnish his credentials as a deficit-cutter.
  • The burnish of private money also helped make the college more of a supportive community.
  • It is also keen to burnish its anti-inflation credentials.
  • The last vestiges of sunlight gild and burnish the pink walls.
  • Donovan, who ran the marketing arm of the company, helped burnish its outlaw image.
  • Palace propagandists have struggled to burnish his image.
  • He left the state with a budget deficit, but has since tried to burnish his credentials as a hawk on spending.
  • He is serving his second and final term in office, a natural time to look overseas to burnish his legacy.
  • Many wonder whether his clean-government drive is intended to burnish his credentials in a looming struggle for power.
  • On the one hand, their involvement lets them burnish their brands in a fast-growing market.
British Dictionary definitions for burnish

burnish

/ˈbɜːnɪʃ/
verb
1.
to make or become shiny or smooth by friction; polish
noun
2.
a shiny finish; lustre
Derived Forms
burnishable, adjective
burnisher, noun
Word Origin
C14 burnischen, from Old French brunir to make brown, from brunbrown
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
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Word Origin and History for burnish
v.

early 14c., from Old French burniss- present participle stem of burnir, metathesis of brunir "to shine, gleam, sparkle" (trans.), "to polish, make sparkle, make bright, shine," from brun "brown; polished," from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German brun, Old Norse brunn "bright, polished; brown;" see brown (adj.)). The connection to "brown" might be explained if the original objects in mind were wooden ones. Related: Burnished; burnishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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