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or lacker

[lak-er] /ˈlæk ər/
a protective coating consisting of a resin, cellulose ester, or both, dissolved in a volatile solvent, sometimes with pigment added.
any of various resinous varnishes, especially a resinous varnish obtained from a Japanese tree, Rhus verniciflua, used to produce a highly polished, lustrous surface on wood or the like.
Also called lacquer ware, lacquerware. ware, especially of wood, coated with such a varnish, and often inlaid:
They collected fine Japanese lacquers.
Slang. any volatile solvent that produces euphoria when inhaled.
verb (used with object)
to coat with lacquer.
to cover, as with facile or fluent words or explanations cleverly worded, etc.; obscure the faults of; gloss (often followed by over):
The speech tended to lacquer over the terrible conditions.
Origin of lacquer
1570-80; earlier leckar, laker < Portuguese lacre, lacar, unexplained variant of laca < Arabic lakk < Persian lâk lac1
Related forms
lacquerer, noun
relacquer, verb (used with object)
unlacquered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lacquer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Will there be one morsel of honest flesh, when all the lacquer of paint is washed off?

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
  • Do you know that he has the one collection of Japanese lacquer in Europe?

    The Napoleon of Notting Hill Gilbert K. Chesterton
  • The walls are all covered with the finest paintings in gold and lacquer.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin
  • The dressing table and the chaise-longue are of Chinese lacquer.

    The Merry-Go-Round Carl Van Vechten
  • The lacquer is drawn from its milky sap and mixed with the oil of the bignonia.

    In the Eastern Seas W.H.G. Kingston
  • They were formed of wicker work, and covered outside with lacquer.

    The Three Admirals W.H.G. Kingston
  • By the time the young lady was marriageable, her outfit of lacquer was superb.

    The Empire of the East H. B. Montgomery
  • These lacquer artists, as I have indicated, worked not for lucre, but for love.

    The Empire of the East H. B. Montgomery
  • Their position is so assured that they do not need that lacquer of calmness of which we were speaking.

    Backlog Studies Charles Dudley Warner
British Dictionary definitions for lacquer


a hard glossy coating made by dissolving cellulose derivatives or natural resins in a volatile solvent
a black resinous substance, obtained from certain trees, used to give a hard glossy finish to wooden furniture
lacquer tree Also called varnish tree. an E Asian anacardiaceous tree, Rhus verniciflua, whose stem yields a toxic exudation from which black lacquer is obtained
Also called hair lacquer. a mixture of shellac and alcohol for spraying onto the hair to hold a style in place
(art) decorative objects coated with such lacquer, often inlaid
(transitive) to apply lacquer to
Derived Forms
lacquerer, noun
Word Origin
C16: from obsolete French lacre sealing wax, from Portuguese lacalac1
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
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Word Origin and History for lacquer

1570s as "dye obtained from lac;" 1670s as "lacquer," from obsolete French lacre, name for a kind of sealing wax, from Portuguese lacre, unexplained variant of lacca "resinous substance," from Arabic lakk, from Persian lak (see lac).


"cover or coat with laqueur," 1680s, from lacquer (n.). Related: Lacquered; lacquering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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