from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A thin surface layer, as of finely grained wood, glued to a base of inferior material.
  • n. Any of the thin layers glued together to make plywood.
  • n. A decorative facing, as of brick.
  • n. A deceptive, superficial show; a façade: a veneer of friendliness.
  • transitive v. To overlay (a surface) with a thin layer of a fine or decorative material.
  • transitive v. To glue together (layers of wood) to make plywood.
  • transitive v. To conceal, as something common or crude, with a deceptively attractive outward show.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A thin decorative covering of fine wood applied to coarser wood or other material.
  • n. An attractive appearance that covers or disguises true nature or feelings.
  • v. To apply veneer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A thin leaf or layer of a more valuable or beautiful material for overlaying an inferior one, especially such a thin leaf of wood to be glued to a cheaper wood; hence, external show; gloss; false pretense.
  • transitive v. To overlay or plate with a thin layer of wood or other material for outer finish or decoration. Used also figuratively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To overlay or face, as an inferior wood, with wood of a finer or more beautiful kind, so as to give the whole the appearance of being made of the more valuable material; cover with veneers: as, to veneer a wardrobe or other article of furniture.
  • To cover with a thin coating of substance similar to the body, in other materials than wood, as in ceramics.
  • Hence To impart a more agreeable appearance to, as to something vicious, worthless, or forbidding; disguise with a superficial attraction; gild.
  • n. A thin piece of wood of a choice kind laid upon another of a more common sort, so as to give a superior and more valuable appearance to the article so treated, as a piece of furniture.
  • n. A thin coating covering the body of anything, especially for decorative purposes: used when the material of the outer coating is similar to that of the body, as in ceramics or in paper-manufacturing.
  • n. Show; superficial ornament; meretricious disguise.
  • n. In entomology, a veneer-moth.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. coating consisting of a thin layer of superior wood glued to a base of inferior wood
  • n. an ornamental coating to a building
  • v. cover with veneer


Alteration of obsolete faneering, from German Furnierung, from furnieren, to furnish, veneer, from French fournir, to furnish, from Old French furnir, of Germanic origin; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Furnier, from furnieren ("to inlay, cover with a veneer"), from French fournir ("to furnish, accomplish"), from Middle French fornir, from Old French fornir, furnir ("to furnish"), from Old Frankish *frumjan ("to provide"), from Proto-Germanic *frumjanan (“to further, promote”). Cognate with Old High German frumjan, frummen ("to accomplish, execute, provide"), Old English fremian ("to promote, perform"). More at furnish. (Wiktionary)


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