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


Many coats of lacquer were applied to the table.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These archives hold other masters of various vintages: the lacquer, glass and metal masters that predated tape, and disk drives and digital tapes from the past few decades. New York Times, "The Day the Music Burned," 11 June 2019 The chromium came from the lacquer, and the preservation came from the dirt. National Geographic, "Ancient advanced weapon technology theory debunked by new research," 4 Apr. 2019 Fong recalls his mother, Bev, popping the heads off new wax figures to style their hair and set it with lacquer. Melia Russell,, "As tech takes over city, SF Chamber of Commerce seeks to adapt," 23 June 2019 Lined with red-lacquer columns, Haneda offers a theme-park version of Edo-era Tokyo, complete with a replica of the famous all-wood Nihonbashi bridge. Sharon Terlep, WSJ, "Forget the Mall, Shoppers Are Buying Gucci at Airports," 17 June 2019 The lacquer-like finish is accentuated with darker colors, transforming an ordinary surface into a luxury design. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "Everything You Need to Know About High-Gloss Paint," 22 May 2019 The adorable moment when Taeyong paused his lipstick calligraphy mission with Doyoung to apply some bright red lacquer to his lips and kiss the canvas made up for the betrayal, though. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Watch K-Pop Group NCT 127 Do the Wave, Wind-Blown Hair Flips, and More," 14 May 2019 Toes, no matter how knobby or crooked, are suddenly elevated: cuticles are nonexistent, misshapen nails fade into the ether, and, of course, there’s always a double layer of look-at-me red lacquer. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "It’s Sandal Season and You Haven’t Had a Pedicure—Here’s How to Fake It," 6 Apr. 2019 With everything from sky high lash extensions to nail and lip lacquers, there’s not only a variety of ways to show off your pride this month (and year-round), but these beauty products give back. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "10 Beauty Products That Celebrate Pride Month And Give Back," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

20 Jul 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 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

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).


something desired as essential

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