from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A black enamel or lacquer used to produce a durable glossy finish.
- n. An object decorated with this substance.
- transitive v. To decorate with a black enamel or lacquer.
- transitive v. To coat with a glossy finish.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A hard black enamel varnish containing asphalt.
- n. Lacquer ware.
- v. To varnish with japan.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Work varnished and figured in the Japanese manner; also, the varnish or lacquer used in japanning.
- adj. Of or pertaining to Japan, or to the lacquered work of that country.
- transitive v. To cover with a coat of hard, brilliant varnish, in the manner of the Japanese; to lacquer.
- transitive v. To give a glossy black to, as shoes.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Of or pertaining to Japan: as, Japan varnish (now written “japan varnish,” without reference to the country); Japan work, etc.
- n. Work varnished and figured in the manner practised by the natives of Japan.
- n. A liquid having somewhat the nature of a varnish, made by cooking gum shellac with linseed-oil in a varnish-kettle.
- n. An asphaltum varnish.
- n. A black cane.
- To varnish with japan; cover with any material which gives a hard black gloss.
- To invest with the black coat of a clergyman; ordain.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. coat with a lacquer, as done in Japan
- n. lacquer with a durable glossy black finish, originally from the orient
- n. a string of more than 3,000 islands to the east of Asia extending 1,300 miles between the Sea of Japan and the western Pacific Ocean
- n. lacquerware decorated and varnished in the Japanese manner with a glossy durable black lacquer
- n. a constitutional monarchy occupying the Japanese Archipelago; a world leader in electronics and automobile manufacture and ship building
After Japan .(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japan, due to this varnishing process being an imitation of oriental (East Asian) processes. (Wiktionary)