burnish (burnishes, present participle burnishing; past and past participle burnished)

  1. (transitive) To make smooth or shiny by rubbing; to polish; to shine.
    In pottery, a stone is sometimes used to burnish a pot before firing, giving it a smooth, shiny look.
    • Now the village windows blaze, / Burnished by the setting sun.
  2. (intransitive) To shine forth; to brighten; to become smooth and glossy, as from swelling or filling out; hence, to grow large.
    • A slender poet must have time to grow, / And spread and burnish as his brothers do.
    • My thoughts began to burnish, sprout, and swell.
  3. (metaphoric) To make appear positive and highly respected.
Synonyms Translations Noun


  1. Polish; lustre.

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