shellac

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

shell +‎ lac, calque translation of French laque (lac) + en (in) + écailles (scales, shells)

Noun[edit]

shellac (plural shellacs)

  1. A processed secretion of the lac insect, Coccus lacca; used in polishes, varnishes etc.

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Verb[edit]

shellac (third-person singular simple present shellacs, present participle shellacking, simple past and past participle shellacked)

  1. To coat something with shellac.
  2. (informal, US) To inflict a heavy defeat; to drub; to batter. Used primarily in sports and political contexts.
    • 1987 George F. Will, The New Season: A Spectator's Guide to the 1988 Election (Simon and Schuster), p. 21:
      In 1964 Goldwater ran rambunctiously, flat-out against government. He got shellacked.
    • 1987 Tim McCarver and Ray Robinson, Oh, Baby, I Love It! (Villard Books), p. 220:
      In another the Mets were shellacked, 9-1, with a stray ninth-inning home run by Strawberry after two outs, preventing a shutout.

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