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February 11, 2020

Word of the Day: Refurbish

1 CQ

Word of the Day : May 3, 2017

refurbish \rih-FER-bish\ verb


: to brighten or freshen up : renovate


"Ann Eliza noticed that Evelina now took the precaution of putting on her crimson bow every evening before supper, and that she had refurbished with a bit of carefully washed lace the black silk which they still called new because it had been bought a year after Ann Eliza's." — Edith Wharton, Bunner Sisters, 1916

"The company doesn't make jet engines, but it does build and refurbish critical components that protect them and enable them to power aircraft through the skies." — Lawrence Specker, The Mobile (Alabama) Register, 19 Mar. 2017

Did You Know?

If you're wondering if refurbish implies the existence of an earlier furbish, you are on the right track. Furbish was borrowed into English in the 14th century from Anglo-French furbiss-, a distant relative of Old High German furben, meaning "to polish." In its earliest uses furbish also meant "to polish," but it developed an extended sense of "renovate" shortly before English speakers created refurbish with the same meaning in the 17th century. These days refurbish is the more common of the two words, although furbish does continue to be used.

Aired May 3, 2017

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