Definition of varnish in English:

varnish

noun

mass noun
  • 1Resin dissolved in a liquid for applying on wood, metal, or other materials to form a hard, clear, shiny surface when dry.

    ‘several coats of varnish’
    count noun ‘the wood was stained with a dark varnish’
    • ‘Oil varnishes consist of a polymer (natural or synthetic) dissolved in an oil.’
    • ‘Apply two, preferably three coats of urethane varnish using a good quality natural bristle brush.’
    • ‘Once a year every detail is painted with a thick, clear coat of marine-grade varnish to protect it from weathering.’
    • ‘Lots of glue was used to fix this all in place, and over the top of all this a few layers of varnish or shellac were applied to finally seal the whole thing.’
    • ‘No varnishes are applied either, the wood's glossy look is from being hand rubbed.’
    • ‘I have found that these ornaments only last in dry conditions, even when coated well with varnish or shellac.’
    • ‘For thousands of years most paints and varnishes were made with hemp seed oil or linseed. as both make very good bases and can hold pigments really well.’
    • ‘When the piece is dry, sand it lightly and apply one coat of acrylic varnish to protect the finish.’
    • ‘The rockers were made of wood, their dark varnish scuffed and scraped.’
    • ‘It was also incorporated into a broad range of industrial products, including lubricants, insecticides, paints, and varnishes.’
    • ‘Both cabins have redwood siding that appears to have been given a clear coat of varnish or shellac.’
    • ‘We first prepared the boards by sanding the wooden surface to remove any varnish.’
    • ‘Do not apply urethane varnish over a coat of shellac or lacquer.’
    • ‘Sealers are usually thinned varnishes which, when applied to wood, penetrate into the wood pores on the surface.’
    • ‘Two or more coats of clear gloss varnish will give you the traditional shiny, lacquered finish.’
    • ‘The plate is then removed, and the wax or varnish removed by a solvent.’
    • ‘Let dry overnight, then apply two coats of clear polyurethane varnish.’
    • ‘Paints and varnishes are designed, of course, to adhere permanently and evenly to a surface.’
    • ‘Then he repeatedly applies furniture varnish or stain which he wipes away with turpentine and reapplies to darken the edges of the work.’
    • ‘The final stage of restoration is to apply a clear varnish - when appropriate.’
    lacquer, lac, shellac, japan, enamel, glaze, polish, oil, resin, wax
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      ‘her fingernails were painted with pink varnish’
      short for nail varnish
      • ‘Her colleague, who already had her coat on, looked up then looked down again, picking chipped pink varnish from the edge of a finger nail.’
      • ‘Mummy had never had a ‘blue rinse’ put on her hair or clear varnish on her nails.’
      • ‘The lady filed and shaped our nails, cleaned our cuticles and painted 4 layers of varnish on them.’
      • ‘Joan looked up from examining her bitten nails, wondering if she should pick up a new black varnish.’
      • ‘But a set of six steel strings is a notorious nail varnish remover - just slices the varnish off and leaves your partially-painted nails looking tatty.’
    2. 1.2literary in singular An external or superficially attractive appearance of a specific quality.
      ‘an outward varnish of civilization’
      • ‘Extremist impulses have acquired a varnish of respectability through the intercession of the socialist leaders.’
      • ‘It was reduced to the purely decorative art of whether or not to put the varnish of international approval on a decision already made.’
      • ‘Presumably the point would have been to make certain of the sinister police chief's demise, while putting a varnish of legality on it later on.’
      • ‘If we are to develop a more realistic sense of place we will need to strip the varnish from some cherished myths about our island world.’
      • ‘It would take a lot more than suggesting Lincoln was gay to strip some of the varnish off of his image.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Apply varnish to.

    ‘we stripped the floor and varnished it’
    with object and complement ‘her toenails were varnished red’
    • ‘The entrance hall of this attractive terraced property has a varnished pitch pine floor as well as recessed brass spotlights.’
    • ‘Angie stepped out, following her mother onto the newly varnished porch.’
    • ‘They put back a fireplace into the dining room and laid an oak laminate floor in the lounge and sanded and varnished the floorboards in the bedrooms.’
    • ‘There are two bedrooms upstairs, both with original cast iron fireplaces and varnished wooden floorboards.’
    • ‘Belt sanders are relatively inexpensive to hire and while sanding and varnishing floors is tough work, buyers will love the results.’
    • ‘Daisy had a small cupboard made recently and I managed to get it varnished this morning.’
    • ‘If you want to obtain a rustic country style, having plain varnished woodwork will achieve this.’
    • ‘Here wide varnished floorboards are set against rich yellow walls, more ornate plasterwork and a large cast-iron fireplace.’
    • ‘The furniture was wood, polished to a high gloss rather than varnished.’
    • ‘Both rooms are painted in a rich red and have varnished pine floors, picture rails and attractive brick fireplaces.’
    • ‘At the end of the paved path, wide, sweeping marble steps rose, leading up to a pair of solid, darkly varnished wooden doors.’
    • ‘The two bedrooms have varnished flooring and Velux windows, while the larger of the two also has exposed ceiling beams.’
    • ‘He was going to varnish the new pine doors but he was already reeling from the fumes from the paint.’
    • ‘Then the paintings are varnished several times and polished to a glasslike surface.’
    • ‘Tomkins notes that Picasso did not varnish his own paintings.’
    • ‘Finally, we bought a thin oak-veneer board from Travis Perkins and varnished it to create a splashback.’
    • ‘‘It has been varnished, which was a Victorian practice they thought would preserve valuables, but it now means we can't distinguish the varnish from the bone,’ he said.’
    • ‘Steve Perry went back to the business of varnishing his deck.’
    • ‘When the city was financially strapped in the early 1980s, Mr. Benson came to the office one weekend and sanded and varnished his own desk to cut costs.’
    • ‘Well crafted, watertight wooden forms are essential, and Ando's forms are varnished to achieve the smooth finish.’
    • ‘We've even varnished it all over so that no splinter would hurt your flesh.’
    • ‘The floors and banisters had been varnished and polished till they gleamed, the frames of paintings had received a thorough cleaning.’
    • ‘The chairs are all pinkish and soft from massive amounts of use, and the tables are nicely varnished, but not entirely pristine.’
    lacquer, shellac, japan, enamel, glaze, polish, oil, resin, wax
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Disguise or gloss over (a fact)
      ‘they varnished over their vices, and exaggerated their merit’
      • ‘John Fahey tried to varnish over the problems by citing family and work commitments as the reason for the poor turnout at a recent training session.’
      • ‘He doesn't varnish the facts because he doesn't have to.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French vernis, from medieval Latin veronix ‘fragrant resin, sandarac’ or medieval Greek berenikē, probably from Berenice, a town in Cyrenaica.

Pronunciation

varnish

/ˈvɑːnɪʃ/