burnished voice

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Senior Member

What exactly is a burnished voice like? The use of the word "burnish" (as in to polish; to make smooth and bright) suggests a sparkling clear voice, and yet I found "smoke-burnished voice" online, which looks like an oxymoron! So which one is it?

The context isn't much help: "She heard his big, burnished voice. . . ." (Amy Bloom, Away)

Then online about Thomas Meglioranza I found this: "He projected Schubert's finely honed vignettes vividly, deploying his burnished voice with exacting diction and dramatic flair." I take to mean crystal clear voice.

But what of "Al Pacino's smoke-burnished voice"?

And what if the context is of no help at all; what does it mean then? As in
"Alex Dreier; Radio, TV Commentator With Burnished Voice Won 7 Emmys."

  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I suspect that in Pacino's case, it's the concept of having some sort of abrasive effect. Polishing compound is an abrasive, of course.

    I would not have used it that way, however, since the implication with Al is "made rough," not "made smooth."
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