varnish

noun
var·​nish | \ ˈvär-nish How to pronounce varnish (audio) \

Definition of varnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a liquid preparation that when applied to a surface dries to form a hard lustrous typically transparent coating
b : the covering or glaze given by the application of varnish
c(1) : something that suggests varnish by its gloss
(2) : a coating (as of deposits in an internal combustion engine) comparable to varnish
2 : outside show : gloss entry 1
3 chiefly British : a liquid nail polish

varnish

verb
varnished; varnishing; varnishes

Definition of varnish (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to apply varnish to
2 : to cover or conceal (something, such as something unpleasant) with something that gives an attractive appearance : gloss entry 2

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Other Words from varnish

Noun

varnishy \ ˈvär-​ni-​shē How to pronounce varnishy (audio) \ adjective

Verb

varnisher \ ˈvär-​ni-​shər How to pronounce varnisher (audio) \ noun

Examples of varnish in a Sentence

Noun She accidentally scratched the varnish.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On the dressing table were bottles of nail varnish, face lotion, pots of cream, and boxes of powder. Michael Hofmann, Harper's Magazine, "Fata Morgana," 27 Oct. 2020 The varnish on the pews had begun to wear, and the wood was often sticky with disinfectant, so the volunteer cleaners had started using soap and water to remove the tacky build-up. Gregory Barber, Wired, "It’s Time to Talk About Covid-19 and Surfaces Again," 20 Oct. 2020 To deter swelling, cover the MDF edges with wood veneer, plastic laminate, solid-wood edging, or two coats of polyurethane varnish. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "What Is MDF, and Is It Right for Your Next Project?," 7 Oct. 2020 Marine varnish is a clear finish that contains UV absorbers. Washington Post, "South-facing wood should be finished with paint, not varnish," 7 Sep. 2020 For example, formaldehyde in paints and varnishes can turn to vapor at a certain temperature, and breathing formaldehyde is harmful to humans. Popular Science, "Air quality monitors that verify the safety of the air in your home," 8 Apr. 2020 From Deborah Lippmann’s lavender varnish to Chantecaille's light pink lacquer, here are 9 of the to give you a boost as the season goes on. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "9 Spring Nail Polish Colors to Brighten Your At-Home Beauty Routine," 19 Mar. 2020 Customers could receive lumber, nails, varnish, carved staircase parts, plumbing components and more. Tiffany Hsu, The Seattle Times, "When Sears was everywhere: espionage, politics and fine art," 15 Oct. 2018 Dark fashion lord Rick Owens also collaborated with the footwear label, coating the straps in floss-thin cashmere fur and painting the body in a black varnish. Vogue, "Kendall Jenner’s Birkenstocks Have Gone International," 19 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What Remains Behind—directed by Laurent Bouzereau—is a respectful, though not necessarily varnished, look at what made Wood one of the most dazzling actors of the last half of the 20th century. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind," 5 May 2020 The kitchen is unusual in that its counters are not new marble or quartz, but varnished walnut, which matches the floor. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$849K Franklin farmhouse is at least 180 years old — and a state historic site," 22 Feb. 2020 The playwright, who quickly has become famous, is himself an outspoken personality, a writer and walking fashion statement, a playwright thoroughly disinclined to varnish anything with the veneer of acceptability. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Broadway top-10 for this fall: ‘Jagged Little Pill,’ Tina Turner and the risky ‘Slave Play’," 13 Sep. 2019 There’s no time required for sanding, staining or varnishing. Joesph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "8 Steps for Installing Laminate Flooring," 8 Dec. 2019 The backs of the boxes are varnished, but covered with grease, sauce and cheese underneath. Taylor Hartz, chicagotribune.com, "Artist Paul Mack shows collection of paintings on used pizza boxes at Villa Napoli Pizzeria," 6 Nov. 2019 The highest levels were found in the plastic window blinds, in keeping with previous research finding high levels of meth in PVC, polyurethane, and stained or varnished wood. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Home buyers, beware: Contamination from cooking meth can linger for years," 9 Oct. 2019 It has been stained and varnished and looks wonderful. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "Two enemies of outdoor wooden sculptures: Rain and sun," 24 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

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'varnish.' 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 varnish

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for varnish

Noun

Middle English vernyz, vernich, vernisch "dissolved resin used as a decorative or protective coating," borrowed from Anglo-French vernis (continental Old French verniz), borrowed from Medieval Latin veronix, vernix "resin," earlier "amber," restructured from Middle Greek berōnikón, beroníkē "yellow- or amber-colored glass, amber," probably going back to Greek bereníkion "natron, reddish- or yellowish-hued natron (used in making glass)," of uncertain origin

Note: The Greek word for "natron" has no evident connection with the city name Bereníkē in ancient Cyrenaica nor any of the other place-names based on the female given name Bereníkē borne by various Macedonian queens and princesses of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt.

Verb

Middle English vernysshen, borrowed from Middle French vernicier and Medieval Latin vernizāre, both derivative of Old French verniz varnish entry 1

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Time Traveler for varnish

Time Traveler

The first known use of varnish was in the 14th century

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Statistics for varnish

Last Updated

3 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Varnish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/varnish. Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for varnish

varnish

noun
How to pronounce varnish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of varnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a liquid that is spread on a surface and that dries to form a hard, shiny coating
: the hard, shiny coating that is produced by varnish

varnish

verb

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

: to cover (something) with varnish

varnish

noun
var·​nish | \ ˈvär-nish How to pronounce varnish (audio) \

Kids Definition of varnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a liquid that is spread on a surface and dries into a hard coating

varnish

verb
varnished; varnishing

Kids Definition of varnish (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover with or as if with a liquid that dries into a hard coating

varnish

noun
var·​nish | \ ˈvär-nish How to pronounce varnish (audio) \

Medical Definition of varnish

: any of various liquid preparations that when spread and allowed to dry on a surface form a hard lustrous typically transparent coating and that include some used in dentistry to line deep cavities in order to protect the pulp of a tooth

Other Words from varnish

varnish transitive verb

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Comments on varnish

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