Definition: Porcelain

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(Redirected from Porcelain)


From Middle French porcelaine (cowrie, wampum, china, chinaware), from Old Italian porcellana (cowrie, china, chinaware), from porcella (mussel or cockle shell used to hold pigments while painting), from porco (pig) with -ella (suffix forming diminutives).


porcelain (countable and uncountable, plural porcelains)

  1. A hard white translucent ceramic, originally made by firing kaolin, quartz, and feldspar at high temperatures but now also inclusive of similar artificial materials, also often (figurative) such a material as a symbol of the fragility, elegance, etc. traditionally associated with porcelain goods.
    Tableware and toilets are both made of porcelain.
  2. China or fine china; porcelain tableware.
    He set the table with our porcelain and stemware.
  3. (now usually in the plural) An object made of porcelain, (particularly) art objects or items of tableware.
    The museum has an extensive collection of rare Chinese porcelains.
  4. (often capitalized) A kind of pigeon with deep brown and off-white feathers.

Derived terms

  • Chantilly porcelain
  • ivory porcelain
  • porcelain blue
  • porcelain cement
  • porcelain clay
  • porcelain color
  • porcelain crab
  • porcelain doll
  • porcelainist
  • porcelain kiln
  • porcelain-maker
  • porcelain-making
  • porcelain oven
  • porcelain shell
  • porcelain ware
  • porcelain-white
  • porcelaneous


porcelain (third-person singular simple present porcelains, present participle porcelaining, simple past and past participle porcelained)

  1. To coat with a porcelain enamel.


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