See more synonyms for japan on Thesaurus.com
  1. any of various hard, durable, black varnishes, originally from Japan, for coating wood, metal, or other surfaces.
  2. work varnished and figured in the Japanese manner.
  3. Japans, a variety of decorative motifs or patterns derived from Asian sources, used on English porcelain of the 18th and 19th centuries.
  1. of or relating to japan.
verb (used with object), ja·panned, ja·pan·ning.
  1. to varnish with japan; lacquer.
  2. to coat with any material that gives a hard, black gloss.

Origin of japan

First recorded in 1605–15; special use of Japan
Related formsja·pan·ner, nounun·ja·panned, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for japanned

Historical Examples of japanned

  • He went back and tried for the japanned tin colour-box, single-handed.

    A Likely Story

    William De Morgan

  • The japanned case hides the guiding agency, whatever it may be.

  • Swiftly he unearthed the square, japanned case and dragged it forth.

    Under Boy Scout Colors

    Joseph Bushnell Ames

  • Why didn't they purloin a beer-stein, quiescent on a japanned tray?

  • They were finished in japanned work and often inlaid in light and dark wood.

    Remodeled Farmhouses

    Mary H. Northend

British Dictionary definitions for japanned


  1. a glossy durable black lacquer originally from the Orient, used on wood, metal, etc
  2. work decorated and varnished in the Japanese manner
  3. a liquid used as a paint drier
  1. relating to or varnished with japan
verb -pans, -panning or -panned
  1. (tr) to lacquer with japan or any similar varnish


  1. an archipelago and empire in E Asia, extending for 3200 km (2000 miles) between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific and consisting of the main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu and over 3000 smaller islands: feudalism abolished in 1871, followed by industrialization and expansion of territories, esp during World Wars I and II, when most of SE Asia came under Japanese control; dogma of the emperor's divinity abolished in 1946 under a new democratic constitution; rapid economic growth has made Japan the most industrialized nation in the Far East. Official language: Japanese. Religion: Shintoist majority, large Buddhist minority. Currency: yen. Capital: Tokyo. Pop: 127 253 075 (2013 est). Area: 369 660 sq km (142 726 sq miles)Japanese names: Nippon, Nihon
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 japanned


1570s, via Portuguese Japao, Dutch Japan, acquired in Malacca from Malay Japang, from Chinese jih pun "sunrise" (equivalent of Japanese Nippon), from jih "sun" + pun "origin." Earliest form in Europe was Marco Polo's Chipangu. Cultural contact led to japaning "coat with lacquer or varnish" (1680s), japonaiserie (1896, from French), etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

japanned in Culture


Island nation in the northwest Pacific Ocean off the coast of east Asia, separated by the Sea of Japan from Russian Siberia, China, and Korea. The Japanese archipelago includes four major islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku) as well as many smaller islands. Its capital and largest city is Tokyo.


Called the “Land of the Rising Sun,” Japan is symbolized by a red sun on a white background.


Another symbol (see also symbol) of Japan is Fujiyama, also called Mount Fuji, a volcano whose symmetrical snow-capped peak has been the object of countless pilgrimages, poems, and paintings. It has not erupted since 1707.


Imperial Japan was organized on a feudal system (see feudalism), characterized by the samurai (the warrior class, which eventually became landed gentry) and the shogun (the hereditary administrative leader). The emperor, believed to be divine, was the ceremonial leader. Japan is a constitutional monarchy today.


Japan's ports were first opened to Western traders in the sixteenth century but were closed in the seventeenth century. Japan remained in virtual isolation until the 1850s, when an American naval officer, Matthew C. Perry, persuaded the government to reopen trade with the West.


Suffering from overcrowding, lack of natural resources, and the influence of powerful military factions, Japan pursued an aggressive policy of expansion in China during the 1930s, ultimately resulting in a military alliance with Germany and Italy to form the Axis powers in World War II. (See also Hiroshima (see also Hiroshima), Pearl Harbor, and Douglas MacArthur.)


Although a world leader in shipbuilding, electronics, and automobile manufacture, Japan's economy suffered a severe slump during the 1990s.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.