1. A viscid liquid, consisting of a solution of resinous matter in an oil or a volatile liquid, laid on work with a brush, or otherwise. When applied the varnish soon dries, either by evaporation or chemical action, and the resinous part forms thus a smooth, hard surface, with a beautiful gloss, capable of resisting, to a greater or less degree, the influences of air and moisture.
(Science: botany) (Shak) Varnish tree, a tree or shrub from the juice or resin of which varnish is made, as some species of the genus rhus, especially R. Vernicifera of japan. The black varnish of Burmah is obtained from the melanorrhoea usitatissima, a tall East indian tree of the Cashew family. See Copal, and mastic.
Origin: OE. Vernish, F. Vernis, LL. Vernicium; akin to F. Vernir to varnish, fr. (assumed) LL. Vitrinire to glaze, from LL. Vitrinus glassy, fr. L. Vitrum glass. See Vitreous.
Source: Webster 3c8 s Dictionary