or shel·lack

[ shuh-lak ]
See synonyms for: shellacshellacking on

  1. lac that has been purified and formed into thin sheets, used for making varnish (shellac varnish ) by dissolving it in alcohol or a similar solvent.

  2. formerly, a phonograph record made of a breakable material containing shellac, especially one to be played at 78 r.p.m.: In the antique shop I found a stack of old shellacs with recordings of great wartime classics.

verb (used with object),shel·lacked, shel·lack·ing.
  1. to coat or treat with shellac.

  2. Slang.

    • to defeat; trounce.

    • to thrash soundly.

Origin of shellac

First recorded in 1705–15; shell + lac1, translation of French laque en écailles “lac in thin plates” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use shellac in a sentence

  • Shellack—my Canton correspondent—a man I was anxious to be of use to when he came over!

    Vice Versa | F. Anstey

British Dictionary definitions for shellac


/ (ʃəˈlæk, ˈʃɛlæk) /

  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

  1. a gramophone record based on shellac

verb-lacs, -lacking or -lacked (tr)
  1. to coat or treat (an article) with a shellac varnish

  2. US slang to defeat completely

Origin of shellac

C18: shell + lac 1, translation of French laque en écailles, literally: lac in scales, that is, in thin plates

Derived forms of shellac

  • shellacker, noun

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