Definition of varnish in English:

varnish

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Resin 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’
    • ‘Sealers are usually thinned varnishes which, when applied to wood, penetrate into the wood pores on the surface.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The rockers were made of wood, their dark varnish scuffed and scraped.’
    • ‘When the piece is dry, sand it lightly and apply one coat of acrylic varnish to protect the finish.’
    • ‘Let dry overnight, then apply two coats of clear polyurethane varnish.’
    • ‘No varnishes are applied either, the wood's glossy look is from being hand rubbed.’
    • ‘Once a year every detail is painted with a thick, clear coat of marine-grade varnish to protect it from weathering.’
    • ‘Two or more coats of clear gloss varnish will give you the traditional shiny, lacquered finish.’
    • ‘We first prepared the boards by sanding the wooden surface to remove any varnish.’
    • ‘It was also incorporated into a broad range of industrial products, including lubricants, insecticides, paints, and varnishes.’
    • ‘Paints and varnishes are designed, of course, to adhere permanently and evenly to a surface.’
    • ‘Apply two, preferably three coats of urethane varnish using a good quality natural bristle brush.’
    • ‘I have found that these ornaments only last in dry conditions, even when coated well with varnish or shellac.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then he repeatedly applies furniture varnish or stain which he wipes away with turpentine and reapplies to darken the edges of the work.’
    • ‘Do not apply urethane varnish over a coat of shellac or lacquer.’
    • ‘Both cabins have redwood siding that appears to have been given a clear coat of varnish or shellac.’
    • ‘Oil varnishes consist of a polymer (natural or synthetic) dissolved in an oil.’
    • ‘The plate is then removed, and the wax or varnish removed by a solvent.’
    • ‘The final stage of restoration is to apply a clear varnish - when appropriate.’
    lacquer, lac, shellac, japan, enamel, glaze, polish, oil, resin, wax
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    1. 1.1
      ‘her fingernails were painted with pink varnish’
      short for nail 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Joan looked up from examining her bitten nails, wondering if she should pick up a new black varnish.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2literary [in singular] An external or superficially attractive appearance of a specific quality:
      ‘an outward varnish of civilization’
      • ‘It would take a lot more than suggesting Lincoln was gay to strip some of the varnish off of his image.’
      • ‘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 was reduced to the purely decorative art of whether or not to put the varnish of international approval on a decision already made.’
      • ‘Extremist impulses have acquired a varnish of respectability through the intercession of the socialist leaders.’
      • ‘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.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Apply 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.’
    • ‘The floors and banisters had been varnished and polished till they gleamed, the frames of paintings had received a thorough cleaning.’
    • ‘Here wide varnished floorboards are set against rich yellow walls, more ornate plasterwork and a large cast-iron fireplace.’
    • ‘Steve Perry went back to the business of varnishing his deck.’
    • ‘We've even varnished it all over so that no splinter would hurt your flesh.’
    • ‘At the end of the paved path, wide, sweeping marble steps rose, leading up to a pair of solid, darkly varnished wooden doors.’
    • ‘Angie stepped out, following her mother onto the newly varnished porch.’
    • ‘The furniture was wood, polished to a high gloss rather than varnished.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tomkins notes that Picasso did not varnish his own paintings.’
    • ‘Both rooms are painted in a rich red and have varnished pine floors, picture rails and attractive brick fireplaces.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you want to obtain a rustic country style, having plain varnished woodwork will achieve this.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Daisy had a small cupboard made recently and I managed to get it varnished this morning.’
    • ‘Well crafted, watertight wooden forms are essential, and Ando's forms are varnished to achieve the smooth finish.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The chairs are all pinkish and soft from massive amounts of use, and the tables are nicely varnished, but not entirely pristine.’
    • ‘Then the paintings are varnished several times and polished to a glasslike surface.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘Finally, we bought a thin oak-veneer board from Travis Perkins and varnished it to create a splashback.’
    lacquer, shellac, japan, enamel, glaze, polish, oil, resin, wax
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Disguise or gloss over (a fact):
      ‘the white minority government is varnishing over the rougher edges of its racist rule’
      • ‘He doesn't varnish the facts because he doesn't have to.’
      • ‘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.’

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/