varnish

noun
var·​nish | \ˈvär-nish \

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 \ adjective

Verb

varnisher \ˈvär-​ni-​shər \ noun

Examples of varnish in a Sentence

Noun

She accidentally scratched the varnish.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Afterward, sand the wood using a medium-grit (60 to 100 grit) sandpaper either manually or using an electric sander, concentrating on rough areas where the existing paint or varnish has bubbled or peeled. Daniel Bortz, The Seattle Times, "How to give your kitchen a facelift for less? Use paint," 7 Sep. 2018 In 1975 a man slashed it with a knife, leaving 12 scars in the canvas, and in 1990 an attacker sprayed acid on the canvas damaging the varnish. Mike Corder, The Seattle Times, "Rembrandt’s Night Watch to get restoration in Amsterdam," 16 Oct. 2018 Keep in mind that any existing stain, paint, or varnish will take some extra elbow grease to fully remove. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know Before Painting Your Cabinets," 14 Nov. 2017 In the dining room, the gold-and-pearl horizontal lines on the custom wallpaper were created by applying successive layers of paint, varnish, and marble powder. Ian Phillips, ELLE Decor, "Seventh Heaven," 1 Aug. 2012 The painting, which is a Madonna composition, was found obscured by a yellow varnish and covered in dirt in the stately home, reports The Guardian. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "A Potential $26 Million Raphael Painting Has Been Found In A Scottish Home," 4 Oct. 2016 The woodworker had carved a channel into the oak board and slid the snake inside before putting the finishing coats of varnish on the piece. Barbara Henry, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Fair's Design in Wood exhibit a feast for the eyes," 7 June 2018 She coated images of Civil War battlefields with varnish made from diatomaceous earth, as if summoning them directly from soil where the fallen lay. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "At PEM, Sally Mann stays outside the comfort zone," 12 July 2018 Free dental exams, screenings and fluoride varnish for children ages 2 to 17 will be available from the Palm Beach County Department of Health’s Mobile Children's Dental Health Unit at the seventh annual West Boca Community Dental Health Fair. Kari Barnett, Sun-Sentinel.com, "PBSO sponsors free dental services for children in West Boca," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Smith says his father would spend hours cutting out, sanding and varnishing wooden shields to mount his antlers. Allen G. Breed, chicagotribune.com, "The 'King of the Commode' seeks an heir to his thrones," 23 May 2018 His Eckardt, while brutally funny, is an avatar for America in the age of alternate facts: a pathetic man-child, desperate for validation, who varnishes his inadequacies with cockiness and bravado. Dante A. Ciampaglia, Newsweek, "Who Is Shawn Eckardt? Paul Walter Hauser Steals Every Scene as Harding’s Bodyguard in ‘I, Tonya’," 17 Jan. 2018 Using medium-grade sandpaper, sand down the front and edges of wooden, painted or varnished doors or drawer fronts with power sander or sanding block. House Beautiful, "How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets," 14 Nov. 2017

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 toponyms 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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Statistics for varnish

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for varnish

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

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More Definitions for varnish

varnish

noun

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 \

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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on varnish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with varnish

Spanish Central: Translation of varnish

Nglish: Translation of varnish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of varnish for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about varnish

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