from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make smooth and shiny by rubbing or chemical action.
  • transitive v. To remove the outer layers from (grains of rice) by rotation in drums.
  • transitive v. To free from coarseness; refine: polish one's manners.
  • transitive v. To remove flaws from; perfect or complete: polish one's piano technique; polish up the lyrics.
  • intransitive v. To become smooth or shiny by or as if by being rubbed.
  • intransitive v. To become perfect or refined.
  • n. Smoothness or shininess of surface or finish.
  • n. A substance containing chemical agents or abrasive particles and applied to smooth or shine a surface: shoe polish.
  • n. The act or process of polishing.
  • n. Elegance of style or manners; refinement.
  • polish off Informal To finish or dispose of quickly and easily.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A substance used to polish.
  • n. Cleanliness; smoothness, shininess.
  • n. Refinement; cleanliness in performance or presentation.
  • v. To shine; to make a surface very smooth or shiny by rubbing, cleaning, or grinding.
  • v. To refine; remove imperfections from.
  • v. To apply shoe polish to shoes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A smooth, glossy surface, usually produced by friction; a gloss or luster.
  • n. Anything used to produce a gloss.
  • n. Fig.: Refinement; elegance of manners.
  • intransitive v. To become smooth, as from friction; to receive a gloss; to take a smooth and glossy surface.
  • transitive v. To make smooth and glossy, usually by friction; to burnish; to overspread with luster
  • transitive v. Hence, to refine; to wear off the rudeness, coarseness, or rusticity of; to make elegant and polite.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make smooth and glossy, as a surface of marble, wood, etc., whether by rubbing or by coating with varnish, etc., or in both ways.
  • Figuratively, to render smooth, regular, uniform, etc.; remove roughness, inelegance, etc., from; especially, to make elegant and polite.
  • To beat; chastise; punish.
  • Synonyms To burnish, furbish, brighten, rub up.
  • To civilize.
  • To become smooth; receive a gloss; take a smooth and glossy surface.
  • Figuratively, to become smooth, regular, uniform, elegant, or polite.
  • Pertaining to Poland, a country of Europe, or to its inhabitants.
  • n. The language of the Poles.
  • n. Same as Polish checkers.
  • n. A highly ornamental breed of the domestic hen, characterized especially by the large globular crest, and in most varieties having also a full muff or beard.
  • n. Smoothness of surface, produced either by friction or by the application of some varnish, or by both means combined.
  • n. A substance used to give smoothness or to help in giving smoothness to any surface. See French polish, varnish-polish, etc., below.
  • n. Smoothness; regularity; elegance; refinement; especially, elegance of style or manners.
  • n. A liquid application prepared by dissolving gum-shellac in alcohol, or an imitation of this. It is applied with a sponge or rag, and the surface is then rubbed very thoroughly, the operation being usually repeated two or three times.
  • n. The paste by which such a polish is produced.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bring to a highly developed, finished, or refined state
  • n. a preparation used in polishing
  • v. make (a surface) shine
  • n. the Slavic language of Poland
  • v. improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
  • n. a highly developed state of perfection; having a flawless or impeccable quality
  • adj. of or relating to Poland or its people or culture
  • n. the property of being smooth and shiny


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English polisshen, from Old French polir, poliss-, from Latin polīre.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin polire ("to polish, make smooth").



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  • Named after the infamous Felix Dzerzhinsky (Dzierżyński).

    June 11, 2009

  • Reasons why I like Polish, number something in a series: Dzierżyńszczyzna was a Polish autonomous region of the Byelorussian S.S.R. in 1932-8.

    June 11, 2009

  • I was standing in line (or is that on line?) in a hardware store once and saw a sign for Polish Remover. I remember thinking, "Oh boy, someone's going to be offended."

    November 22, 2007

  • Polish sausage; shoe polish.

    November 22, 2007