Definition of shellac in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʃəˈlak/


[mass noun]
Lac resin melted into thin flakes, used for making varnish.
Example sentences
  • However, the wax used is derived from natural sources like food-grade shellac, which comes from the secretion of a lac bug, it is pointed out.
  • New biocontrol coatings for fruit are being made of reformulated shellac and sucrose ester, a compound derived by combining sugar with a fatty acid.

verb (shellacks, shellacking, shellacked)

[with object]
1 [often as adjective] Varnish (something) with shellac: layers of shellacked paper I saw him illegally shellacking his bat
More example sentences
  • You have to be involved on a daily basis with the intimate details of it - down to cleaning the bathrooms and shellacking the floor.
  • He also offers an edible alternative, though it may peel and get mouldy if you don't shellac it, since basically you're making pie filling without any sugar or fruit.
  • Of course, Tom was probably too busy shellacking his hair and buffing his chin to notice.
2North American informal Defeat or beat (someone) decisively: they were shellacked in the 1982 election
More example sentences
  • Hillary Clinton called for an ideological truce within the Democratic Party, she was shellacked by liberal bloggers.
  • Expect no reprieve, as the stock market is likely to get shellacked next week by more languid earnings and deep-seated investor mistrust…
  • The inevitable critical comparisons to his own power trio couldn't have been lost on him, but he nevertheless shellacked Opposition with the same sonic bleakness he reserves for himself.


Mid 17th century: from shell + lac1, translating French laque en écailles 'lac in thin plates'.

Words that rhyme with shellac

aback, alack, attack, back, black, brack, clack, claque, crack, Dirac, drack, flack, flak, hack, jack, Kazakh, knack, lack, lakh, mac, mach, Nagorno-Karabakh, pack, pitchblack, plaque, quack, rack, sac, sack, shack, slack, smack, snack, stack, tach, tack, thwack, track, vac, wack, whack, wrack, yak, Zack

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: shel|lac

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