shellac

noun
shel·lac | \shə-ˈlak \

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

shellac

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of shellac in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Nearly all the best exponents of the Greek Epirotic music, on shellac or in the flesh, are not considered Greek Epirotes by the Greek Epirotes themselves. Evan Eisenberg, WSJ, "‘Lament From Epirus’ Review: Ode on a Grecian Yearn," 24 May 2018 Block and Philpot streets were home to the Lacy Foundry, which made street lamp poles and manhole covers, and to other plants that turned out paint and shellac. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Jacques Kelly: Bridging to past with an ambitious future at Harbor Point," 7 Apr. 2018 But while shellac calls to mind the unglamorous domain of home improvement, lacquer was traditionally a means to create highly detailed works. Lacquer originated in Asia, and many early Indian and Chinese examples are still in existence today. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "You Can Now See Some of Marie Antoinette’s Most Cherished (and Tiny) Possessions," 20 Jan. 2018 In the official paperwork, the grants looked like the kind of research efforts the government might be funding; altruism was slapped on like a coat of shellac. Jim Dwyer, New York Times, "For Sheldon Silver, Three Judges Overturn 12 Jurors," 13 July 2017 Nguyen said on Facebook that Stefani received a manicure and pedicure, choosing a neon orange shellac. Ajc Homepage, ajc, "Gwen Stefani gets mani-pedi at Oklahoma mall nail salon," 15 July 2017 It was made of shellac, which came from a bug resin. Michael Tomasky, The Atlantic, "How the Hippies Hijacked Vinyl," 31 May 2017 There was little demand for an improvement during the Depression, and certainly not during the war, when plastics (and presumably shellacs) went toward the war effort. Michael Tomasky, The Atlantic, "How the Hippies Hijacked Vinyl," 31 May 2017 In some cases, virtually no remaining copies of the original recordings existed because the shellac had been melted down to help paint tanks in World War II. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "PBS Series 'American Epic' Explores Our Musical Roots, With Help From Jack White & T Bone Burnett," 15 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What about someone who retired in 2000 and began withdrawing capital after the market got shellacked? Barry Ritholtz, latimes.com, "Ranking the factors that help or hurt your investment returns," 14 June 2018 Despite being shellacked last week by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, de León managed to hang on to second place and a spot on the November ballot. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bad news comes in bunches for Kevin de León: Key lawmaker backs Feinstein," 12 June 2018 Not the kind with bespoke suits and parted, shellacked hair; the kind with his sleeves rolled up, and a pair of beat-up beige sneakers on his feet. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "Tusks, Horns, and Claws: The Fight to Dismantle the Facebook Animal Parts Bazaar," 5 June 2018 Edmonton also handed the Golden Knights their worst loss of the season, an 8-2 shellacking on Nov. 14. USA TODAY, "Nurse scores in OT to lift Oilers over Golden Knights 3-2," 14 Jan. 2018 In Bosworth and Chopra’s case, their hairlines were shellacked against their foreheads in a semi-bang resembling a wooden or ceramic shrine of Mary. Melissa Magsaysay, latimes.com, "At the Met Gala, stars show off their saintly side with classic looks. Here are 6 major beauty trends," 8 May 2018 Even in a straightforward noodle stir-fry called japchae, the chicken was shellacked with sugar. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: At Ilsong Garden in Castle Hills, it’s best days are over," 3 May 2018 On a day in which one of the few bright spots, right-hander Dylan Bundy, was shellacked for eight runs through 4 2/3 innings, the Orioles matched their season high with 16 hits. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "As Orioles' start reaches historically bad proportions, players try to look at positives," 27 Apr. 2018 With his skinny tie and lapels, pointy-toe shoes, and seriously shellacked hair, he could almost be mistaken for a French Ricky Martin. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "French President Emmanuel Macron Has the Hottest Security in Global Politics," 25 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of shellac

Noun

1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shellac

Noun

shell entry 1 + lac

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shellac

Dictionary Entries near shellac

shelfy

Shelikof

shell

shellac

shellacking

shellac wax

shellapple

Statistics for shellac

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shellac

The first known use of shellac was in 1704

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shellac

shellac

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shellac

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a clear liquid that dries into a hard coating and that is put on a surface to protect it

shellac

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shellac (Entry 2 of 2)

: to coat (something) with shellac

: to defeat (a person or team) easily and completely

shellac

noun
shel·lac | \shə-ˈlak \

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

shellac

verb
shellacked; shellacking

Kids Definition of shellac (Entry 2 of 2)

: to coat with shellac

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on shellac

What made you want to look up shellac? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!