What does tarnish mean?

Definitions for tarnish
ˈtɑr nɪʃtar·nish

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word tarnish.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. tarnish(verb)

    discoloration of metal surface caused by oxidation

  2. tarnish, stain, maculate, sully, defile(verb)

    make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically

    "The silver was tarnished by the long exposure to the air"; "Her reputation was sullied after the affair with a married man"


  1. tarnish(Noun)

    Oxidation or discoloration, especially of a decorative metal exposed to air.

  2. tarnish(Verb)

    To oxidize or discolor due to oxidation.

  3. tarnish(Verb)

    To soil, sully, damage or compromise

  4. Origin: From ternir, stem of ternir, from ternir, of origin, from Old , from darnijanan, from dher(ǝ)-. Cognate with , tarnen (Modern German tarnen), dyrnan, diernan. More at dern, darn.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Tarnish(adj)

    to soil, or change the appearance of, especially by an alternation induced by the air, or by dust, or the like; to diminish, dull, or destroy the luster of; to sully; as, to tarnish a metal; to tarnish gilding; to tarnish the purity of color

  2. Tarnish(verb)

    to lose luster; to become dull; as, gilding will tarnish in a foul air

  3. Tarnish(noun)

    the quality or state of being tarnished; stain; soil; blemish

  4. Tarnish(noun)

    a thin film on the surface of a metal, usually due to a slight alteration of the original color; as, the steel tarnish in columbite


  1. Tarnish

    Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over copper, brass, silver, aluminum, and other similar metals as their outermost layer undergoes a chemical reaction. Tarnish does not always result from the sole effects of oxygen in the air. For example, silver needs hydrogen sulfide to tarnish; it does not tarnish with only oxygen. It often appears as a dull, gray or black film or coating over metal. Tarnish is a surface phenomenon, that is self-limiting unlike rust. Only the top few layers of the metal react, and the layer of tarnish seals and protects the underlying layers from reacting. Tarnish actually preserves the underlying metal in outdoor use and is called patina. The formation of patina is necessary in applications such as copper roofing, and outdoor copper, bronze, and brass statues and fittings. Patina is the name given to tarnish on copper based metals.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Tarnish

    tär′nish, v.t. to soil by exposure to the air, &c.: to diminish the lustre or purity of, to stain, sully.—v.i. to become dull: to lose lustre.—n. a spot, stain, change in lustre of a mineral.—n. Tar′nisher. [Fr. ternir (pr.p. ternissant); terne, dull, wan—Mid. High Ger. ternen, Old High Ger. tarnjan, to darken; A.S. dernan, to cover.]

How to pronounce tarnish?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say tarnish in sign language?

  1. tarnish


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of tarnish in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of tarnish in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of tarnish in a Sentence

  1. Eugene Volokh:

    It's a difficult zone to navigate, do I leave my reputation tarnished or do I say something that might even tarnish my reputation further ?

  2. Andrew Gillan:

    We don't see weaker Asian currencies as a positive for stock markets, but it's a little bit unfair to tarnish the whole of Asia as higher risk.

  3. Emeasoba George:

    Take nothing for granted no matter how small it is. For, just a mark can pass or fail you.Even a little mistake can tarnish your image for life.

  4. Hamid Babaei:

    This is a baseless and unfounded allegation fabricated to tarnish the Iranian government image, particularly aimed at hampering current nuclear talks.

  5. Dan Marino:

    You think about the run that coach Belichick and Tom Brady have had together, it's as good as any that's been in the league. I don't think it would tarnish anything.

Images & Illustrations of tarnish

  1. tarnishtarnishtarnishtarnishtarnish

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Translations for tarnish

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • تلطخArabic
  • tummua, liata, tummentuma, tahria, hapettuma, hapettuaFinnish
  • धब्बा लगानाHindi
  • окисление, порочить, потускнение, тускнеть, делать тусклым, пятнатьRussian
  • fläcka, skada, skamfila, besudlaSwedish

Get even more translations for tarnish »


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"tarnish." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 22 Oct. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/tarnish>.

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