Skip to main content
Select Source:

varnish

varnish, homogeneous solution of gum or of natural or synthetic resins in oil (oil varnish) or in a volatile solvent (spirit varnish), which dries on exposure to air, forming a thin, hard, usually glossy film. It is used for the protection or decoration of surfaces and may be transparent, translucent, or tinted. For oil varnishes a hard gum or resin, often a fossilized plant exudation such as kauri or copal, is dissolved in oil (commonly linseed oil or tung oil) and is diluted with a volatile solvent such as turpentine. Spirit varnishes are commonly made of soft resins or gums, such as shellac, dammer, mastic, or sandarac, dissolved in a volatile solvent, e.g., alcohol, benzene, acetone, or turpentine. Enamel is varnish with added pigments. Lacquer may be a cellulose derivative dissolved in a volatile solvent, or it may be a natural varnish made in the East from the sap of trees. Among the varnishes named either for their constituents or for the proposed use are japanner's gold size, cabinet, carriage, bookbinder's, patent-leather, insulating, photographic, shellac, and copal picture varnish. Varnish has been known from antiquity; the Egyptians coated mummy cases with a pastelike form made of soft resins dissolved in oil and applied when warm. Another early use was for coating oil paintings. Stradivarius and other violinmakers used a slow-drying linseed oil varnish on their instruments.

See Oil & Colour Chemists' Assoc., Paint Technology Manual (2 vol., 1961, 1962); C. R. Martens, Technology of Paints, Varnishes, and Lacquers (1968).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"varnish." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"varnish." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 9, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/varnish

"varnish." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/varnish

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

varnish

var·nish / ˈvärnish/ • n. resin dissolved in a liquid for applying on wood, metal, or other materials to form a hard, clear, shiny surface when dry. ∎  [in sing.] archaic an external or superficially attractive appearance of a specific quality: an outward varnish of civilization. • v. [tr.] apply varnish to: we stripped the floor and varnished it. ∎  disguise or gloss over (a fact): the White House is varnishing over the defeat of the president’s proposal. DERIVATIVES: var·nish·er n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"varnish." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"varnish." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 9, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/varnish-0

"varnish." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/varnish-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

varnish

varnish solution of resinous matter used for providing a hard shiny coat XIV; fig. XVI. ME. vernisch — (O)F. vernis :- medL. veronix, -nic- fragrant resin, sandarac, or — medGr. berenī́kē, prob. appellative use of the town-name Berenice (in Cyrenaica).
So varnish vb. XIV. — OF. verniss(i)er, -ic(i)er.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"varnish." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"varnish." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 9, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/varnish-1

"varnish." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/varnish-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

varnish

varnish Solution of a resin or a plastic that dries to form a hard, transparent, protective and often decorative coating. Varnishes may have a matt or glossy finish. Pigments are often added to colour the varnish.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"varnish." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"varnish." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 9, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/varnish

"varnish." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/varnish

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

varnish

varnishbanish, clannish, mannish, Spanish, tannish, vanish •garnish, tarnish, varnish •replenish, Rhenish •Danish •cleanish, greenish •diminish, finish, Finnish, thinnish •swinish •admonish, astonish, donnish •Cornish •brownish, clownish, townish •buffoonish, cartoonish, soonish •Hunnish, nunnish, punish •maidenish • hoydenish • paganish •womanish • vixenish • kittenish •heathenish •burnish, furnish •longish, strongish •youngish •Lappish, snappish •dampish, scampish, trampish, vampish •sharpish • apish •cheapish, sheepish, steepish •blimpish, impish, wimpish •foppish • waspish • uppish •frumpish, grumpish, lumpish, plumpish •parish •cherish, perish •bearish, fairish, garish, squarish •nightmarish • Irish •moreish, whorish •flourish, nourish •nearish, queerish •sourish •boorish, Moorish •gibberish • Micawberish • vulturish •spiderish • vigorish • vinegarish •tigerish • ogreish • Quakerish •lickerish, liquorice (US licorice) •ochreish (US ocherish) •vapourish (US vaporish) • viperish •spinsterish • Pooterish • amateurish •feverish • liverish • impoverish •minxish • niceish • coarsish • closish

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"varnish." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"varnish." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 9, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/varnish

"varnish." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/varnish

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.