Advanced and Proficiency Vocabulary for Exams(e.g.GRE, Banks, Civil Services, SAT / LSAT). For IELTS/TOEFL, and everyday spoken vocabulary, go to our Spoken Vocabulary Database.
In a literal sense, to ‘burnish’ something is to polish it until it is smooth and shiny, thus making it lustrous and more appealing. That meaning has been adapted to express polishing something in a figurative sense in order to improve it, such as a person’s reputation, image, or credentials. It is more commonly used in the latter sense, particularly in a professional context.
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The politician saw the crisis as his chance to win political capital and burnish his image as a no-nonsense problem solver.
Our latest product has burnished the company’s reputation for innovation and thinking outside the box.
I’m going to burnish the car before I put it up for sale because it looks so much more attractive when it’s gleaming.