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 Among the particles the researchers detected were varnish, different types of rubber, polyethylene (the kind of plastic in grocery bags) and polyamide (a component of materials like nylon and Kevlar). Los Angeles Times, "Microplastic in the atmosphere is making its way to the pristine Arctic," 15 Aug. 2019 Many buildings nowadays are also painted with varnish. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Microplastics Are Blowing Into the Pristine Arctic," 14 Aug. 2019 Polymers found in varnish, which can be used on the exteriors of ships, were also notable in those samples. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Airborne Plastic Is Blowing All the Way to the Arctic," 14 Aug. 2019 The new technological arms race among big oil companies is taking on a more Silicon Valley varnish. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "Big Oil’s New Strategy: Smaller Wells, Smarter Tech," 26 July 2018 Bergmann said the microplastics detected in the study included varnish that may have been used to coat cars and ships, rubber found in tires and materials that could have originated in textiles or packaging. Frank Jordans, Anchorage Daily News, "The atmosphere is carrying microplastics into the Arctic, scientists say," 15 Aug. 2019 This contained inorganic pigments in an organic binding medium overlaid by a shellac varnish. The Economist, "Researchers find a way to use minute samples to detect forged paintings," 8 June 2019 His earnest varnish is polished to its highest shine. James Freeman, WSJ, "Too Soon for Democrats To Dump Elizabeth Warren?," 7 Dec. 2018 Methanol is widely available and present in household items such as varnishes and antifreeze, according to the World Health Organization. Hannah Knowles, Washington Post, "Tainted alcohol has led to 19 deaths in Costa Rica, authorities say," 20 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 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

13 Oct 2019

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
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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