How do you describe a metal that was once shining, but is so old that it is now mat?

"Matted metal" does not sound right, does it?

  • Opaque, probably! ...
    – user 66974
    Nov 30, 2017 at 11:21
  • 5
    The most suitable description is probably 'Dull'! Nov 30, 2017 at 11:41
  • Tarnished, perhaps?
    – Mick
    Nov 30, 2017 at 11:47
  • 1
    Do you mean that its finish is now matte? I'd call it dull or matte, versus glossy or lustrous. But what has your own research shown?
    – Davo
    Nov 30, 2017 at 12:12
  • I was going for matted, but that seems wrong.
    – DevShark
    Nov 30, 2017 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


If the dullness of age is desirable, the finish may be referred to as a patina. (The result of oxidation on various kinds of metal.)

If a metal product is purposely manufactured with a "dull" (as opposed to "shiny") finish, it is called a satin finish.

  • 1
    Your answer uses the word "dull" twice without suggesting it as an answer... To me "dull" is the word the OP is looking for.
    – IanF1
    Nov 30, 2017 at 20:37
  • 1
    @IanF1 - You're absolutely right. "The metal was dull with age," is succinct and appropriate. My answer is colored by 40+ years in "retail-land" - euphemistic phrases such as: "pre-owned", "vintage", "distressed", and the like, are just what pop into my head first. Mea culpa.
    – Oldbag
    Dec 1, 2017 at 14:25

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