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  1. a resinous substance deposited on the twigs of various trees in southern Asia by the female of the lac insect: used in the manufacture of varnishes, sealing wax, etc., and in the production of a red coloring matter.Compare shellac(defs 1, 2).

Origin of lac1

1545–55; < Hindi lākhSanskrit lākṣā


  1. (in India)
  2. the sum of 100,000, especially of rupees. The usual punctuation for sums of Indian money above a lac is with a comma after the number of lacs: Rs. 30,52,000 (i.e., 30 lacs and 52,000) instead of 3,052,000.
  3. an indefinitely large number.
Also lakh.

Origin of lac2

1605–15; < Hindi lākhSanskrit lakṣa


  1. (in prescriptions) milk.

Origin of lac3

From Latin


  1. leading aircraftsman.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lac

Historical Examples

  • There are a good many Indians about here, says a letter from Lac qui Parle.

    Old Fort Snelling

    Marcus L. Hansen

  • I was on my way to work for the Williamsons, missionaries, at Lac qui Parle.

  • In the beginning of this story I said what Lac Tremblant was like.

    The La Chance Mine Mystery

    Susan Carleton Jones

  • “If you can rid me of these children, I will give you 229 a lac of gold pieces,” she said.

  • It was located to the south and a little west of Lac Vieux Desert.

British Dictionary definitions for lac


  1. a resinous substance secreted by certain lac insects, used in the manufacture of shellac

Word Origin

C16: from Dutch lak or French laque, from Hindi lākh resin, ultimately from Sanskrit lākshā


  1. a variant spelling of lakh


abbreviation for
  1. leading aircraftman
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lac


"red resinous substance," 1550s (perhaps via Middle French lacce), earlier lacca (early 15c., from Medieval Latin form lacca), from Persian lak, from Hindi lakh (Prakrit lakkha), from Sanskrit laksha "red dye," which according to Klein is literally "one hundred thousand," in reference to the insects that gather in great numbers on the trees and make the resin run out. But others say lakh is an alteration of Sanskrit rakh, from an IE root word for "color, dye" [Watkins]. Still another guess is that Sanskrit laksha is related to English lax, lox "salmon," and the substance was perhaps originally so called from being somewhat the color of salmon [Barnhart].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lac in Medicine


  1. Milk.
  2. A whitish, milky looking liquid.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.