Pronunciation: (vär'nish), [key]
1. a preparation consisting of resinous matter, as copal or lac, dissolved in an oil (oil varnish) or in alcohol (spirit varnish) or other volatile liquid. When applied to the surface of wood, metal, etc., it dries and leaves a hard, more or less glossy, usually transparent coating.
2. the sap of certain trees, used for the same purpose (natural varnish).
3. any of various other preparations similarly used, as one having India rubber, pyroxylin, or asphalt as its chief constituent.
4. a coating or surface of varnish.
5. something resembling or suggesting a coat of varnish; gloss.
6. superficial polish or external show, esp. to conceal some defect or inadequacy: The play has a varnish of witty dialogue.
7. Brit.nail polish.
1. to apply varnish to; coat or cover with varnish.
2. to give a glossy appearance to.
3. to give an improved appearance to; adorn.
4. to give a superficially pleasing appearance to, esp. in order to deceive: to varnish the truth.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.