shel·​lac | \ shə-ˈlak How to pronounce shellac (audio) \

Definition of shellac

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : purified lac usually prepared in thin orange or yellow flakes by heating and filtering and often bleached white
2 : a preparation of lac dissolved usually in alcohol and used chiefly as a wood filler and finish
3a : a composition containing shellac formerly used for making phonograph records
b : an old 78 rpm phonograph record


shellacked; shellacking

Definition of shellac (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to coat or otherwise treat with shellac or a shellac varnish
2 : to defeat decisively

Examples of shellac in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fill those existing dents with clear nail polish or shellac. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2021 The process required cleaning and hand-sanding every panel and groove, after which Newborg applied a custom shellac and finish. Nancy Ngo, Star Tribune, 30 July 2021 Denatured alcohol can be used to strip floors and make shellac, but don’t put it in your homemade hand sanitizer to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 6 Mar. 2020 The Brach’s classic candy corn ingredients were listed as sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze (shellac), salt, dextrose, gelatin, sesame oil, artificial flavor, honey, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 3. Courtland Milloy, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2019 At the turn of the century, the ever-expanding electrical industry was running low on shellac, a resin secreted by the female lac bug which could be used as an insulating material. Alice Bell, CNN, 5 Nov. 2019 Shifts in format — from wax cylinders to shellac discs to LPs to CDs and MP3s and now streaming — arrive periodically to transform the record trade. New York Times, 11 June 2019 Methanol is a type of alcohol that's often used as an ingredient in antifreeze, paint thinner, shellac, and windshield wiper fluid, according to MedlinePlus. Cory Stieg,, 18 June 2019 The site became industrialized with the Lacy Foundry and industries that made shellac and paint. Jacques Kelly,, 15 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There are also nagging economic questions, including Texans getting shellacked by outrageous property tax bills amid a pandemic that’s left millions of residents out of work and struggling to feed their families. Dallas News, 25 May 2020 Indeed, on a day the market was shellacked, Zoom Video Communications was off just a smidge, and Chinese delivery giant Meituan eked out a gain. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, 10 Mar. 2020 The news media industry continues to be shellacked by the dismal advertising market as businesses remain shuttered throughout much of the country. New York Times, 18 Apr. 2020 The Paris mayor's race has been downright nasty, and President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party reportedly is due to get shellacked. Michelle Krupa, CNN, 15 Mar. 2020 The hairstyle, known for its round shape, with hair swept off the face and shellacked into place with quite a bit of hair spray, is symbolic of all that is retro. Marisa Meltzer, New York Times, 17 Mar. 2020 So what if most mushes fell victim to the tongue-thrust reflex or ended up repurposed as art supplies, my walls decorated with beet-purple spatter and shellacked with heirloom bean? Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2020 Stocks snapped back from last week’s shellacking on expectations for a global policy response if the world economy is constricted by the effects of the coronavirus. Hiroko Masuike, New York Times, 2 Mar. 2020 If Sanders were to get shellacked, however, recriminations would be instant and intense. Michael Tomasky, The New York Review of Books, 27 Feb. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shellac.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of shellac


1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shellac


shell entry 1 + lac

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The first known use of shellac was in 1704

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Cite this Entry

“Shellac.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for shellac


shel·​lac | \ shə-ˈlak How to pronounce shellac (audio) \

Kids Definition of shellac

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a varnish made from a material that is given off by an insect and that is dissolved usually in alcohol


shellacked; shellacking

Kids Definition of shellac (Entry 2 of 2)

: to coat with shellac

More from Merriam-Webster on shellac

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


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