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used in a sentence
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Definition polish and make shiny — especially metal

or more generally:  to improve something — especially the impression that something makes

As a noun, something that is burnished is something that was rubbed to make it shiny.
  • burnished bronze
burnished = polished
  • burnish her reputation
  • Yet, in saying this, I do but indirectly burnish a little brighter the noble merit of the poem and the poet.
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
  • His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
    Daniel 10:6 (NIV)
  • the old man leaned over the stern and lifted the burnished gold fish with its purple spots over the stem.
    Ernest Hemingway  --  The Old Man and the Sea
  • burnished = shiny and smooth looking
  • My brother's face was swollen and burnished as a new penny.
    Victor Martinez  --  Parrot in the Oven
  • burnished = shiny
  • Standing beside its burnished bronze doors,
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • burnished = polished and shiny
  • Charlotte would burnish up past foolishness
    E.M. Forster  --  A Room With A View
  • The men pushed their light boat out on the burnished lake, disappeared beyond the reeds.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Main Street
  • Nor can your submissive features Ever be burnished off.
    Boris Pasternak  --  Doctor Zhivago
  • When it's my turn at the graveside, the dirt slips through my fingers onto Pippa's burnished coffin, where it makes the lightest of sounds.
    Libba Bray  --  A Great and Terrible Beauty
  • He was splendidly sunburnt; even his multitudinous beard had been burnished by the fire of Asia.
    Henry James  --  The Portrait of a Lady - Volume 1
  • I stood at the window to admire the sunlight slanting over the golf course, and burnishing the bare trees on the distant hills.
    Ian McEwan  --  Atonement
  • Its beak shone like burnished gold, and its eyes glinted like jet set in yellow stones; its huge white wings were half lifted.
    J.R.R. Tolkien  --  The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The lights from the gas station burnished his sleek black hairdo.
    Homer Hickam  --  October Sky
  • As she gazed the dark fringed line of the north rim turned to burnished gold, and she watched that with fascinated eyes.
    Zane Grey  --  The Call of the Canyon
  • There is more burnish, however, on the outside than sterling silver in substance.
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • She loosened the waist knot of the blouse so that it came open and fell, and then she was wholly naked before the window, coolly burnished, smooth.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  A Gesture Life
  • Each letter echoed and reaffirmed my love for Ruth, burnished by our long years together.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Longest Ride
  • The sky was a pale yellow with burnished copper streaks which may have been clouds.
    Dan Simmons  --  Hyperion

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