A resinous substance produced mainly on the banyan tree, but to some extent on other trees, by the Coccus lacca, a scale-shaped insect, the female of which fixes herself on the bark, and exudes from the margin of her body this resinous substance.

Stick-lac is the substance in its natural state, incrusting small twigs. When broken off, and the colouring matter partly removed, the granular residuum is called seed-lac. When melted, and reduced to a thin crust, it is called shell-lac or shellac. Lac is an important ingredient in sealing wax, dyes, varnishes, and lacquers. Ceylon lac, a resinous exudation of the tree Croton lacciferum, resembling lac. Lac dye, a scarlet dye obtained from stick-lac. Lac lake, the colouring matter of lac dye when precipitated from its solutions by alum. Mexican lac, an exudation of the tree Croton Draco.

Origin: Per. Lak; akin to Skr. Laksha: cf. F. Lague, It. & NL. Lacca. Cf. Lake a colour, Lacquer, Litmus.

(01 Mar 1998)