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2017 Word of the Year

shellac

or shellack

[shuh-lak] /ʃəˈlæk/
noun
1.
lac that has been purified and formed into thin sheets, used for making varnish.
2.
a varnish (shellac varnish) made by dissolving this material in alcohol or a similar solvent.
3.
a phonograph record made of a breakable material containing shellac, especially one to be played at 78 r.p.m.:
an LP that can hold nearly 10 times as much as the old shellac.
verb (used with object), shellacked, shellacking.
4.
to coat or treat with shellac.
5.
Slang.
  1. to defeat; trounce.
  2. to thrash soundly.
Origin of shellac
1705-1715
1705-15; shell + lac1, translation of French laque en écailles lac in thin plates
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shellac
Historical Examples
  • A sine qua non is that the glass be hot enough to melt the shellac.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • The cement consists of a mixture of shellac and 10 per cent of oil of cassia.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • It is then coated with shellac by heating and rubbing upon the shellac.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • On no account must the shellac be allowed to get overheated.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • shellac is the most common and the most useful of the spirit varnishes.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes
  • In the process just described, shellac alone, dissolved in alcohol, is used.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes
  • Quick drying varnishes, like shellac, are applied, with but little on the brush.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes
  • Use with oil on shellac and with oil or water on copal varnish.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes
  • This casing was separated from the pattern and given a coat of shellac on the inside.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
  • Such cement is prepared by a solution of shellac in Ammonia.

British Dictionary definitions for shellac

shellac

/ʃəˈlæk; ˈʃɛlæk/
noun
1.
a yellowish resin secreted by the lac insect, esp a commercial preparation of this used in varnishes, polishes, and leather dressings
2.
Also called shellac varnish. a varnish made by dissolving shellac in ethanol or a similar solvent
3.
a gramophone record based on shellac
verb (transitive) -lacs, -lacking, -lacked
4.
to coat or treat (an article) with a shellac varnish
5.
(US, slang) to defeat completely
Derived Forms
shellacker, noun
Word Origin
C18: shell + lac1, translation of French laque en écailles, literally: lac in scales, that is, in thin plates
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 shellac
n.

1713, from shell (n.) + lac (see lacquer). Translates French laque en écailles "lac in thin plates."

v.

1876, from shellack (n.). The slang sense of "beat soundly" is 1920s, perhaps from the notion of shellac as a "finish." Shellacked "drunk" is from 1922 (cf. plastered). Related: Shellacking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for shellac

shellac

verb

To defeat decisively; trounce; clobber: The Giants were shellacked again Monday

[1930+ Sports; perhaps fr the use of shellac as a finish]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Word Value for shellac

12
14
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