[ih-nam-uh l]
See more synonyms for enamel on Thesaurus.com
  1. a glassy substance, usually opaque, applied by fusion to the surface of metal, pottery, etc., as an ornament or for protection.
  2. enamelware.
  3. any of various varnishes, paints, coatings, etc., drying to a hard, glossy finish.
  4. any enamellike surface with a bright luster.
  5. an artistic work executed in enamel.
  6. Dentistry. the hard, glossy, calcareous covering of the crown of a tooth, containing only a slight amount of organic substance.
verb (used with object), e·nam·eled, e·nam·el·ing or (especially British) e·nam·elled, e·nam·el·ling.
  1. to inlay or overlay with enamel.
  2. to form an enamellike surface upon: to enamel cardboard.
  3. to decorate as with enamel; variegate with colors.

Origin of enamel

1275–1325; Middle English enamelen < Anglo-French enameler, enamailler, equivalent to en- en-1 + -amaler, derivative of asmal, esmal enamel, Old French esmail (-al taken as the suffix -ail) < Old Low Franconian *smalt- something melted, cognate with German Schmalz fat; akin to smelt1; cf. smalto
Related formse·nam·el·er; especially British, e·nam·el·ler, noune·nam·el·ist; especially British, e·nam·el·list, noune·nam·el·work, nounun·e·nam·eled, adjectiveun·e·nam·elled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for enamel

glaze, varnish, lacquer, stain, coating, finish, gloss, polish, veneer, topcoat, japan

Examples from the Web for enamel

Contemporary Examples of enamel

Historical Examples of enamel

  • The enamel was cracked, and I followed every crack as well as every figure of the hours.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • One suit was inlaid with enamel, black as ebony, and the other with red gold.

  • It was also employed in enamel painting as it vitrified without change.

  • In admixture it may safely be employed, as well as in fresco or enamel.

  • Draw a picture of a tooth and label the crown, the enamel, the root, the pulp.

    A Handbook of Health

    Woods Hutchinson

British Dictionary definitions for enamel


  1. a coloured glassy substance, translucent or opaque, fused to the surface of articles made of metal, glass, etc, for ornament or protection
  2. an article or articles ornamented with enamel
  3. an enamel-like paint or varnish
  4. any smooth glossy coating resembling enamel
  5. another word for nail polish
  6. the hard white calcified substance that covers the crown of each tooth
  7. (modifier)
    1. decorated or covered with enamelan enamel ring
    2. made with enamelenamel paste
verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (tr)
  1. to inlay, coat, or otherwise decorate with enamel
  2. to ornament with glossy variegated colours, as if with enamel
  3. to portray in enamel
Derived Formsenameller, enamellist, US enameler or enamelist, nounenamelwork, noun

Word Origin for enamel

C15: from Old French esmail, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German smalz lard; see smelt 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for enamel

early 14c., from Anglo-French enamailler (early 14c.), from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + amailler "to enamel," variant of Old French esmailler, from esmal "enamel," from Frankish *smalt, from Proto-Germanic *smaltjan "to smelt" (see smelt (v.)). Related: Enameled; enameling.


early 15c., from enamel (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

enamel in Medicine


  1. The hard, calcareous substance covering the exposed portion of a tooth.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

enamel in Science


  1. The hard, translucent substance covering the exposed portion of a tooth in mammals. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body, and consists mostly of calcium salts.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

enamel in Culture


The hard, white substance that covers the crown of a tooth.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.