lac·​quer | \ ˈla-kər How to pronounce lacquer (audio) \

Definition of lacquer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a spirit varnish (such as shellac)
b : any of various durable natural varnishes especially : a varnish obtained from an Asian sumac (Rhus verniciflua)

called also Japanese lacquer

2 : any of various clear or colored synthetic organic coatings that typically dry to form a film by evaporation of the solvent especially : a solution of a cellulose derivative (such as nitrocellulose)


lacquered; lacquering\ ˈla-​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce lacquering (audio) \

Definition of lacquer (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to coat with or as if with lacquer
2 : to give a smooth finish or appearance to : make glossy lacquered her hair

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from lacquer


lacquerer \ ˈla-​kər-​ər How to pronounce lacquerer (audio) \ noun

Examples of lacquer in a Sentence


Many coats of lacquer were applied to the table.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But in January 2017, the White House reportedly ordered 150 of the company’s Century II black lacquer and gold rollerball pens, which currently start at a retail price of $116. Michael Crowley, New York Times, "Trump and Sharpie’s Maker Land in Different Kind of Storm," 5 Sep. 2019 Further analysis revealed that the lacquer was actually the source of the chromium detected by earlier researchers. National Geographic, "Ancient advanced weapon technology theory debunked by new research," 4 Apr. 2019 The owner calls the style Hollywood Regency — the kind of marble, mirror and lacquer finishes of old time Hollywood. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Home near Cranbrook's art objects is filled with space and glamour," 3 Aug. 2019 This cake, with its tart bite of rosemary lemon curd between moist, dense layers (a great, heavy wad stuck to my fork when held upside-down), and light-handed lacquer of buttercream was, in this world of overstuffed whoopie pies, simple perfection. Amy Drew Thompson,, "“Sette" it off: Stellar service, serious portions in the Ivanhood | Review," 17 July 2019 Wait until the meat has rendered its fat and browned—or your vegetables have almost finished cooking—before starting to lacquer it on. Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit, "Make This Healthier Barbecue Sauce and Put It On Everything You Grill This Summer," 16 July 2019 Below, six lipsticks, lacquers, and more that will leave you nothing short of lovestruck—just in time for Valentine’s Day. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "6 New Heart-Stopping Lipsticks, Lacquers, and More—Just in Time for Valentine’s Day," 5 Feb. 2019 And, to be clear, a reversible bracelet of diamonds and lacquer is much more easily transported between houses. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Inside the Inspiration for Chanel's New Fine Jewelry Collection," 13 Dec. 2018 For three hours, Ikeda and two assistants had worked to remove the first suit of armor and replace it with the child-size one crafted during the Edo period from iron, gold, silver, copper, leather, wood, lacquer, silk, hemp and horsehair. Peggy Mcglone, Washington Post, "Out with the horses, in with the tigers: Why a major Japanese art exhibit is getting a makeover halfway through its run," 17 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The checkout girl, a sweet-faced kid with a wedding ring and lacquered black hair, was perplexed. Chris Rush, Harper's magazine, "Love and Acid," 19 Aug. 2019 The classical nightstand feels fresh and modern when lacquered in blue with a fun white stripe. Sarah Bray, House Beautiful, "How To Reimagine Vintage Pieces in a Contemporary Space," 3 Mar. 2014 In the boy’s room, a brand-new set of closet doors was lacquered and installed. Shoko Wanger, House Beautiful, "The Ultimate 90-Day Timeline for Designing a Nursery Suite," 27 May 2019 There is duck breast, featuring beautiful pink meat attached to crispy lacquered skin, accompanied by a spring roll of leg meat and vegetables. Phil Vettel,, "Review: Entente dishing up same great food in a spiffy new home," 10 June 2019 Which explains why Patridge's audience is lacquered to perfection. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Paparazzi called Audrina Patridge "bikini queen," so "The Hills" star launched a swimwear line," 7 June 2019 However, when lacquered or varnished, the material is just fine for general purposes. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Butcher-Block Countertops: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Should Know," 15 Jan. 2019 There's also a healthy dose of sparkly surfaces — metallic accents, lacquered walls — that have a glamorous, fashion-forward air about them. Hilary Robertson, House Beautiful, "Ashley Whittaker on Making Colors Flow Effortlessly," 30 Oct. 2014 Bright lips and sparkles were daytime mainstays, the latter framed by model Xie Chaoyu’s lacquered baby bangs, a dusting of silver glitter still twinkling in the corners of her eyes from Simone Rocha’s hauntingly romantic show at Lancaster House. Vogue, "The Best Street Style Beauty at London Fashion Week," 18 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lacquer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of lacquer


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lacquer


Portuguese lacré sealing wax, from laca lac, from Arabic lakk, from Persian lak — more at lac

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lacquer

Statistics for lacquer

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lacquer

The first known use of lacquer was in 1592

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lacquer



English Language Learners Definition of lacquer

: a liquid that is spread on wood or metal and that dries to form a hard and shiny surface


lac·​quer | \ ˈla-kər How to pronounce lacquer (audio) \

Kids Definition of lacquer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a material like varnish that dries quickly into a shiny layer (as on wood or metal)


lacquered; lacquering

Kids Definition of lacquer (Entry 2 of 2)

: to coat with lacquer

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lacquer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lacquer

Spanish Central: Translation of lacquer

Nglish: Translation of lacquer for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about lacquer

Comments on lacquer

What made you want to look up lacquer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!