Varnish is a clear transparent hard protective finish or film. Varnish has little or no color and has no added pigment as opposed to paint or wood stain which contains pigment. However, some varnish products are marketed as a combined stain and varnish. Varnish is primarily used in wood finishing applications where the natural tones and grains in the wood are intended to be visible. It is applied over wood stains as a final step to achieve a film for gloss and protection. Varnish finishes are usually glossy but may be designed to produce satin or semi-gloss sheens by the addition of “flatting” agents.
The term “varnish” refers to the finished appearance of the product. It is not a term for any single or specific chemical composition or formula. There are many different compositions that achieve a varnish effect when applied. A distinction between spirit-drying (and generally removable) “lacquers” and chemical-cure “varnishes” (generally thermosets containing “drying” oils) is common, but varnish is a broad term historically and the distinction is not strict.
A substance used to polish.
“A good silver polish will remove tarnish easily.”
Cleanliness; smoothness, shininess.
“The floor was waxed to a high polish.”
Refinement; cleanliness in performance or presentation.
“The lecturer showed a lot of polish at his last talk.”
To shine; to make a surface very smooth or shiny by rubbing, cleaning, or grinding.
“He polished up the chrome until it gleamed.”
To refine; remove imperfections from.
“The band has polished its performance since the last concert.”
To apply shoe polish to shoes.
To become smooth, as from friction; to receive a gloss; to take a smooth and glossy surface.
“Steel polishes well.”
To refine; to wear off the rudeness, coarseness, or rusticity of; to make elegant and polite.
A type of paint with a solvent that evaporates to leave a hard, transparent, glossy film.
Anything resembling such a paint; glossy appearance.
A deceptively showy appearance.
a passenger train, probably derived from the varnished passenger cars used at one time.
To apply varnish.
To cover up with varnish.
To gloss over a defect.
resin dissolved in a liquid for applying on wood, metal, or other materials to form a hard, clear, shiny surface when dry
“the wood was stained with a dark varnish”
“several coats of varnish”
short for nail varnish
“her fingernails were painted with pink varnish”
an external or superficially attractive appearance of a specific quality
“an outward varnish of civilization”
apply varnish to
“we stripped the floor and varnished it”
“her toenails were varnished red”
disguise or gloss over (a fact)
“they varnished over their vices, and exaggerated their merit”