- Tarnish is defined as to spoil or to discolor the surface of a piece of metal.
An example of to tarnish is to expose silver to sulfur and air.
Tarnished silver spurs.
- to dull the luster of or discolor the surface of (a metal) as by exposure to air
- to besmirch or sully (a reputation, honor, etc.)
- to spoil, mar, or debase: to tarnish a memory
Origin of tarnish; from French terniss-, inflectional stem of ternir, to make dim ; from Middle French probably ; from Old High German tarnjan, to conceal ; from tarni, hidden
- to lose luster; grow dull; discolor, as from oxidation
- to become sullied, soiled, spoiled, marred, etc.
- the condition of being tarnished; dullness
- the film of discoloration on the surface of tarnished metal
- a stain; blemish
verbtar·nished, tar·nish·ing, tar·nish·es
- To dull the luster of; discolor, especially by exposure to air or dirt: Being in the ground for so long tarnished the old coins.
- a. To detract from or spoil: a tasteless meal that tarnished an otherwise pleasant evening.b. To bring disgrace to; sully: a scandal that tarnished his reputation.
- To lose luster; become discolored: a metal that tarnishes quickly.
- To become less enjoyable or estimable: Her admiration for the movie's producer quickly tarnished.
- The condition of being tarnished: no sign of tarnish on the frame.
- A film or layer of discoloration on a metal surface caused by corrosion or oxidation.
- The condition of being disgraced or made less estimable: the tarnish on his reputation.
Origin of tarnishMiddle English ternisshen, from Old French ternir, terniss-, to dull, from terne, dull, of Germanic origin.
(third-person singular simple present tarnishes, present participle tarnishing, simple past and past participle tarnished)
From Middle French terniss-, stem of ternir (“to make dull, deaden, tarnish"), from Old French ternir (“to make dim, make wan"), from Frankish *tarnjan (“to cover up, conceal, hide"), from Proto-Germanic *darnijanÄ… (“to conceal"), from Proto-Indo-European *dher(Ç)-, *dhrÄ“- (“to hold, hold tight, support"). Cognate with Old High German *tarnjan, tarnen (“to hide, cover up, conceal") (Modern German tarnen), Old English dyrnan, diernan (“to keep secret, conceal, hide, restrain, repress"). More at dern, darn.