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shellac

or shel·lack

[shuh-lak]
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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.
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verb (used with object), shel·lacked, shel·lack·ing.
  1. to coat or treat with shellac.
  2. Slang.
    1. to defeat; trounce.
    2. to thrash soundly.
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Origin of shellac

1705–15; shell + lac1, translation of French laque en écailles lac in thin plates
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shellack

drub, subdue, smash, overwhelm, rout, trounce, blank, clobber, crush, conquer, defeat, overcome, vanquish, bulldoze, immobilize, murder, prostrate, overthrow, reduce, trash

Examples from the Web for shellack

Historical Examples of shellack

  • 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 shellack

shellac

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
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verb -lacs, -lacking or -lacked (tr)
  1. to coat or treat (an article) with a shellac varnish
  2. US slang to defeat completely
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Derived Formsshellacker, noun

Word Origin for shellac

C18: shell + lac 1, 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

Word Origin and History for shellack

shellac

n.

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

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shellac

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper