Etymology
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shellac (n.)

also shell lac, "lac melted and formed into thin plates," 1713, from shell (n.) + lac; so called for its form. It translates French laque en écailles "lac in thin plates." Commercially, lac came as stick lac (still on the twigs, insects and all), seed-lac (resin without the twigs and insects, partly processed), and fully processed plates of shell lac.

shellac (v.)

1876, "coat or varnish with shellac," from shellac (n.). The slang sense of "beat soundly" is by 1930 (implied in shellacked), perhaps from the notion of shellac as a "finish." Slang shellacked "drunk" is listed in "Dialect Notes" in 1922 (compare plastered). Related: Shellacking.

updated on August 21, 2022

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Definitions of shellac from WordNet
1
shellac (n.)
lac purified by heating and filtering; usually in thin orange or yellow flakes but sometimes bleached white;
shellac (n.)
a thin varnish made by dissolving lac in ethanol; used to finish wood;
Synonyms: shellac varnish
2
shellac (v.)
cover with shellac;
She wanted to shellac the desk to protect it from water spots
Synonyms: shellack
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.