Definition of sandarac in US English:


(also gum sandarac)


  • A gum resin obtained from the alerce (cypress) of Spain and North Africa, used in making varnish.

    • ‘The skins have to be rubbed down with sandpaper and gum sandarac to produce the best writing surface; each one takes a good hour to prepare.’
    • ‘It produces sandarac, a resin used for making varnish and incense.’
    • ‘Dab the sandarac onto the paper through the cloth & hold the paper vertically and tap off any excess.’
    • ‘These ‘harder’ resins include Strasbourg turpentine (olio d' abezzo) from the European silver fir, Abies alba and sandarac resin, from Tetraclinis articulata and, possibly, from some Juniperus species.’


Late Middle English (denoting realgar): from Latin sandaraca, from Greek sandarakē, of Asiatic origin. The current sense dates from the mid 17th century.