varnish

[vahr-nish]

noun

verb (used with object)


Origin of varnish

1300–50; Middle English varnisch < Middle French vernis, verniz < Medieval Latin vernicium sandarac < Medieval Greek bernī́kē, syncopated variant of Greek Berenī́kē, city in Cyrenaica
Related formsvar·nish·er, nounvar·nish·y, adjectivere·var·nish, verb (used with object)well-var·nished, adjective

Synonyms for varnish

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for varnish

Historical Examples of varnish


British Dictionary definitions for varnish

varnish

noun

Also called: oil varnish a preparation consisting of a solvent, a drying oil, and usually resin, rubber, bitumen, etc, for application to a surface where it polymerizes to yield a hard glossy, usually transparent, coating
a similar preparation consisting of a substance, such as shellac or cellulose ester, dissolved in a volatile solvent, such as alcohol. It hardens to a film on evaporation of the solventSee also spirit varnish
Also called: natural varnish the sap of certain trees used to produce such a coating
a smooth surface, coated with or as with varnish
an artificial, superficial, or deceptively pleasing manner, covering, etc; veneer
mainly British another word for nail polish

verb (tr)

to cover with varnish
to give a smooth surface to, as if by painting with varnish
to impart a more attractive appearance to
to make superficially attractive
Derived Formsvarnisher, noun

Word Origin for varnish

C14: from Old French vernis, from Medieval Latin veronix sandarac, resin, from Medieval Greek berenikē, perhaps from Greek Berenikē, city in Cyrenaica, Libya where varnishes were used
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 varnish
n.

mid-14c., from Old French vernis "varnish" (12c.), from Medieval Latin vernix "odorous resin," perhaps from Late Greek verenike, from Greek Berenike, name of an ancient city in Libya (modern Bengasi) credited with the first use of varnishes. The town is named for Berenike II, queen of Egypt (see Berenice). Figurative sense of "specious gloss, pretense," is recorded from 1560s.

v.

late 14c.; see varnish (n.). Related: Varnished; varnishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper