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See also: japán, Japan, and Japán


Sign advertising a japanned toilet stand
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From Japan, due to this varnishing process being an imitation of East Asian processes. Sense “to ordain” in reference to the black clothes worn by the clergy.


  • IPA(key): /d͡ʒəˈpæn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æn


japan (countable and uncountable, plural japans)

  1. A hard black enamel varnish containing asphalt.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 21345056, page 64:
      My own apartment, however, I was allowed to enter; and very pretty, I must say, it is. It is hung with Indian-silk, where the brightest of birds, and the gayest of flowers, disport themselves on a white ground. The screens and dressing-table are of black japan, while the mirror is set in exquisite silver filigree work, of which material are also the boxes of my toilette.
  2. Lacquerware.


japan (third-person singular simple present japans, present participle japanning, simple past and past participle japanned)

  1. (transitive) To varnish with japan.
  2. (UK, slang, transitive, obsolete, religion) To ordain.
    • 1826, George Colman, The Connoisseur (page 179)
      Jack, hearing that I was in this part of the world, sent me a very hearty letter, informing me, that he had been double-japanned (as he called it) about a year ago, and was the present incumbent of — []



  • japan at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • 1873, John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary



Japan +‎ -an



japan c

  1. A person from Japan.


Declension of japan 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative japan japanen japaner japanerna
Genitive japans japanens japaners japanernas

Related terms[edit]