A Word A Day : Burnish

Tuesday, 21st August 2007 : Today's Word is ...


( Verb )

Pronunciation : (bur'nish)

1. To make smooth or glossy by or as if by rubbing

2. To rub with a tool that serves especially to smooth or polish

3. To give a gleaming luster to, usually through friction

4. To polish to a shiny


Middle English burnishen, from Old French burnir, burniss-, variant of brunir, from brun, shining, of Germanic origin


1. Polish

2. Buff

3. Gloss

4. Glaze

5. Furbish

6. Shine

7. Sleek

8. Brighten

9. Light


1. Tarnish

2. Dull

3. Darken

Contextual Example:

• The red truck will really glow after we burnish it.

• Others polished the blade until all the rust was removed and it glistened like burnished silver.

Related Word:

Burnisher : Noun


Burnishing is a form of pottery decoration in which the surface of the pot is polished, often using a spatula of wood or bone, while it still is in a leathery green state, i.e. before firing. After firing, the surface is extremely shiny. Often the whole outer surface of the pot is thus decorated, but in certain ceramic traditions there is pattern burnishing where the outside and in the case of open bowls, the inside, are decorated with burnished patterns in which some areas are left matte.

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