lac·​quer | \ ˈla-kər \

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 \

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 \ noun

Examples of lacquer in a Sentence


Many coats of lacquer were applied to the table.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The recordings offer modest fidelity—monophonic sound recorded on lacquer discs, some off-mic solos—but offer exciting listening. John Edward Hasse, WSJ, "The Concert That Changed Music History," 24 Dec. 2018 Here’s hoping the rich, seasonally appropriate lacquer becomes a mainstay in the royal’s regular style rotation. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Meghan Markle Breaks Royal Tradition With A Risky New Manicure Shade," 11 Dec. 2018 Paint one of your rooms, including ceiling and moldings, in a deep-colored lacquer. WSJ, "101 Ways to Live, Work and Goof Off More Ambitiously," 26 Oct. 2018 The dining room walls are brown lacquer painted over with a bronze vine. Hilary Robertson, House Beautiful, "Ashley Whittaker on Making Colors Flow Effortlessly," 30 Oct. 2014 Wearing a matching, icy-azure winged liner, Brown proceeded to carefully paint short strokes of lacquer onto the Late Show host's fingers—while discussing important matters, of course, such as activism, YouTube beauty tutorials, the Spice Girls.... Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Watch Millie Bobby Brown Paint Stephen Colbert's Nails (Really)," 20 Nov. 2018 Bustle also reported that the lacquers feel extremely hydrating on the lips and feature a delicious vanilla-mint scent. Allie Fasanella, Allure, "Nyx Is Launching a Brand-New Lip Gloss, Liner, and Lipstick for Summer," 23 June 2018 McCartney's models walked down a reflective runway that looked as if it were made of black lacquer, while the minimalist and fluorescent lights at Thom Browne recalled those of interior design darling Resident. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "These Paris Fashion Week Shows Gave Us Serious Decor Envy," 7 Mar. 2018 Last month, the Taiwanese high jeweler won a Masterpiece award at the London fair of the same name for the Peony Brooch in titanium, gold, and yellow lacquer, which counts nearly 180 carats of rubies and close to six carats of diamonds. Vogue, "From Ana Khouri to Tasaki, A Survey of Couture Week’s Coolest Jewels," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Just as compelling as the inventively chic food is the design of this four floor culinary and oenological paradise (there is a 10,000-bottle wine cellar in the basement, its walls lacquered dregs-of-wine red). Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "With Striking Interior Design, Milan’s Cracco Restaurant Evokes Singular Elegance," 29 June 2018 The kind of chicken that wins competition is fashioned from skin-on but boneless thighs, tucked into taut little bundles, the final product lacquered in sauce. Peter Meehan, Bon Appetit, "Entering a National Barbecue Competition Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time," 4 June 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.

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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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Statistics for lacquer

Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lacquer

The first known use of lacquer was in 1592

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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 \

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

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

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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