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lac·​quer ˈla-kər How to pronounce lacquer (audio)
: a spirit varnish (such as shellac)
: any of various durable natural varnishes
especially : a varnish obtained from an Asian sumac (Rhus verniciflua)

called also Japanese lacquer

: 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)


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

transitive verb

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

Examples of lacquer in a Sentence

Noun Many coats of lacquer were applied to the table.
Recent Examples on the Web
Here, the designer packed in plenty of additional storage and workspace and coated the cabinetry in a pleasing chocolate lacquer. Anna Fixsen, ELLE Decor, 9 Aug. 2023 The spray scent comes in a refillable black lacquer glass bottle in 10-milliliter to 3.3-ounce sizes, and a 150-milliliter refill. Danielle Directo-Meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Aug. 2023 This model is instantly recognizable for its chrome blue dial, which is achieved through a process of applying multiple layers of blue lacquer, each of which is polished to a mirror finish before the next is applied. Cait Bazemore, Robb Report, 12 Oct. 2023 He was being undercut on some bids by contractors willing to skip a coat of lacquer or build with particleboard. Adriane Quinlan, Curbed, 20 Sep. 2023 The Sheer Trend Instead, coconut milk nails hit the sweet spot between a bold lacquer and the type of neutral mani that instantly elongates your fingers and makes the tips look brighter. Fiona Embleton, Glamour, 12 Sep. 2023 Opening in 2021 after six years of intensive renovations, the dazzling decor blends an old-world spirit with more modish touches, from lavish bathrooms clad in Italian marble and French lacquer marquetry to contemporary artworks and a cutting-edge spa and fitness center. Vogue, 28 Sep. 2023 Dip your finger into the pot and give it a twist to dissolve even the deepest, darkest lacquer (plus there's a sponge attached to the cap for toes). Liana Schaffner, Allure, 21 Sep. 2023 There are two new models, one with a blue lacquer dial, a signature color for the collection, and a new gray color. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 31 Aug. 2023
Rockmore lacquered a vintage leopard to become a black jaguar. Claire Brito, House Beautiful, 15 Aug. 2023 The camera orbits around his head just before a final shot of his crown: silky, voluminous waves lacquered with the aplomb of K-pop boy bands. Wilson Wong, New York Times, 29 Apr. 2023 Instead Sarah Mendel and Risa Emen of Cochineal Design converted the space into a functional showpiece of its own, with bold marble and cabinets lacquered in Farrow & Ball’s sultry Preference Red. Anna Fixsen, ELLE Decor, 7 Mar. 2023 The intense berried juiciness of grape jelly can also lacquer a rack of baby back ribs, yielding gleaming, tender batons that are ideal for watching the Super Bowl or just enjoying for dinner. Eric Kim, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2023 If baking soda in boiling water doesn’t work, lacquer thinner from a paint store almost certainly would. Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2022 And like a lot of hokum, Barry Levinson’s lacquered ode to the majesty of baseball — and Robert Redford — is still hard to resist. Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2020 The book showcases photographs of 250 striking objects: lacquered chopsticks, bento boxes, stainless steel teapots, calligraphy brushes, Shoji sliding doors, Sori Yanagi butterfly stools, Issey Miyake kimonos, and Kikkoman soy sauce bottles. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Mar. 2020 In the house on Bainbridge Island where Ms. Gooden lives with her husband, Bill LeMire, Ms. Gooden has Hisaye’s iron kettle, bamboo ladles and lacquered natsume (wooden canisters) for tea ceremony. Hannah Kirshner, New York Times, 24 Dec. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lacquer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lacquer was in 1592

Dictionary Entries Near lacquer

Cite this Entry

“Lacquer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on lacquer

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