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

Repeat the previous two steps with the clear-coat lacquer. Anthony Alaniz, Popular Mechanics, "How to Paint a Car," 4 Feb. 2019 And, for the most elaborate cellars—finished with lacquers, custom artwork, mosaic tiles, high-end lighting and tongue-and-groove redwood, for example—the sky’s the limit. Robyn A. Friedman, WSJ, "How to Protect Your Wine Collection," 13 Sep. 2018 The rich, liquidy sheen of a lacquer-like finish bounces light around a dark room. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "A Paint Expert's Simple Guide to Choosing the Right Paint Finish," 4 Mar. 2019 Next came confident colors and flourishes: a foyer in creamy lacquer, a wall of ocean-blue grass cloth, a swiveling, disco-era brass cocktail table. Vanessa Gregory, ELLE Decor, "A Recently Renovated Mid-Century Home in Knoxville, Tennessee," 7 Feb. 2019 Softer brushes, like this one, are better for stains and clear finishes, like varnish, spar varnish, shellac, and brushing lacquers. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The 4 Biggest Painting Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)," 16 Jan. 2019 For this young family's TV room (on the right), a vintage James Mont credenza in a high-gloss Chinese red lacquer makes a daring, modern statement. Sarah Bray, House Beautiful, "How To Reimagine Vintage Pieces in a Contemporary Space," 3 Mar. 2014 Lucite’ acrylic lacquer—the same paints used on General Motors automobiles. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "Can Guitar Paint Affect Your Tone?," 31 Dec. 2018 And the gold, the geezer look of it, and that little bit of burgundy lacquer, that really drove me crazy. Rory Satran, WSJ, "10 Stylish Women on Essential Investment-Fashion Pieces," 27 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Continue to grill, turning often and basting with remaining sauce, until lacquered and lightly charred in places, 6–8 minutes longer. Chris Morocco, Bon Appetit, "Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Savory Caramel," 28 May 2018 About a decade ago, her son took over, carving the space into eight rentable apartments filled with midcentury furniture (Hans Wegner armchairs, lacquered coffee tables) and contemporary art. Gisela Williams, New York Times, "Where to Shop (and Eat) in São Miguel, Portugal," 9 May 2018 An impromptu transportation strike has shut down the vaporettos, so today the Grand Canal is the province of snappy motorboats and lacquered black gondolas. Jean Bond Rafferty, Town & Country, "Dispatches from the Renaissance," 17 Dec. 2012 Richard Ouellette, president of Canadian firm Les Ensembliers, lacquered a Montreal passageway obsidian black, focusing attention the way a horse’s blinders might on a view of the city through a distant window. Kathryn O’shea-evans, WSJ, "The Big Decorating Mistake: Forgetting Your Hallways," 24 May 2018 As the couple gives a barefoot tour, Jackson pads from the windowed walk-in master closet to the entry, where the interior of the coat closet is lacquered a brilliant orange, a joking reference to Princeton, which Roth attended. Bob Morris, ELLE Decor, "HOUSE TOUR: A Glamorous West Village Loft That's Made For Entertaining," 22 Nov. 2016

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

8 Jun 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!