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

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Other Words from lacquer


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

Examples of lacquer in a Sentence

Noun Many coats of lacquer were applied to the table.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The steering wheel is wrapped in Lavalina leather with blue-and-green stitching, and there are three interior trim options, all with Alpina badging: Myrtle luxury wood, Piano lacquer, and Natural Walnut Anthracite. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, "612-HP 2021 Alpina XB7 Is One of the Most Powerful SUVs in the World," 19 May 2020 Unlike typical gel polishes, these luxe lacquers come off with a swipe of acetone, drills, and foil aren’t required. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "7 Best Gel Nail Polishes To Carry You Through Quarantine," 13 Apr. 2020 Earlier this year, , which long dominated the market for lacquer masters crucial for most U.S. vinyl pressing plants. Randall Robertsstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "‘A grinding halt’: Record stores struggle to stay afloat amid coronavirus crisis," 27 Mar. 2020 The property had a major renovation before the current owners moved in a decade ago; flagstone, lacquer, cherry wood and light are its principal elements. Julie Lasky, New York Times, "$1.3 Million Homes in South Carolina, Colorado and Oregon," 26 Feb. 2020 With its plenitude of dark wood, hard edges and black lacquer, the Asian style ran the risk of overwhelming Dr. Greenberg’s 740-square foot apartment, located on the 18th floor of a 1960s building. Eric Andersson, WSJ, "The Chinese Art Deco Look: Too Ornate for a Tiny Apartment?," 31 Jan. 2020 On a food shoot, those receptacles might also hold pristine cakes or whole roast turkeys painted in lacquer, the food stylist’s version of bronzer. Marian Bull, New York Times, "Banquets Are Back in Fashion. But Where Does All the Food Go?," 21 Feb. 2020 There are literally entire textbooks devoted to wood finishes, but my personal go-tos are spray-on lacquer or wipe-on polyurethane. David Kaleko, Popular Science, "Build a floating key organizer cabinet you’ll love coming home to," 27 Jan. 2020 But the memoir itself proceeds on strong sentences, sleek with a hard, dark lacquer. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "What One Learns from Twenty-Two Years of Writer’s Block," 26 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "‘Bridesmaids’ or ‘The Fifth Element’? It’s Week 2 of the #UltimateSummerMovie Showdown," 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, "Best Books to Read if You're Dreaming of Japan," 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, "In Japanese New Year Dishes, a Family Connects With Its Past," 24 Dec. 2019 Old wood end tables can be lacquered black for a classic look. Washington Post, "5 ways to give your home a green reboot," 22 Jan. 2020 The original moldings in the library are lacquered in a high-gloss aubergine, which offsets artworks by Rose Wylie and David Benjamin Sherry. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "How One Globe-Trotting Retail Guru Creates a Cool and Collected Home," 17 Oct. 2019 Curving walls, lacquered wood, marble, granite, porcelain tile, curving glass, new roof. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Pavel Datsyuk's $4.5M home in Bloomfield Twp. includes panic room, theater," 7 Dec. 2019 Near the front was a gorgeous, community wood table, lacquered and smooth after being kiln-baked in Mexico. Michael Mayo,, "Review: Art and whimsy at Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery in Fort Lauderdale," 12 Dec. 2019 Highly aromatic sourdough cardamom buns lacquered with a deliciously sticky-sweet glaze. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, "This Hotel Breakfast Turned Me Into a Morning Person," 15 Oct. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for lacquer

Time Traveler

The first known use of lacquer was in 1592

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Statistics for lacquer

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lacquer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for lacquer


How to pronounce lacquer (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on lacquer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lacquer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lacquer

Spanish Central: Translation of lacquer

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

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