[ pawr-suh-lin, pohr-; pawrs-lin, pohrs- ]
See synonyms for porcelain on Thesaurus.com
  1. a strong, vitreous, translucent ceramic material, biscuit-fired at a low temperature, the glaze then fired at a very high temperature.

  2. ware made from this.

Origin of porcelain

1520–30; <French porcelaine<Italian porcellana originally, a type of cowry shell, apparently likened to the vulva of a sow, noun use of feminine of porcellano of a young sow, equivalent to porcell(a), diminutive of porca sow (see pork, -elle) + -ano-an

Other words from porcelain

  • por·ce·la·ne·ous, por·cel·la·ne·ous [pawr-suh-ley-nee-uhs, pohr-], /ˌpɔr səˈleɪ ni əs, ˌpoʊr-/, adjective

Words Nearby porcelain

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How to use porcelain in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for porcelain


/ (ˈpɔːslɪn, -leɪn, ˈpɔːsə-) /

  1. a more or less translucent ceramic material, the principal ingredients being kaolin and petuntse (hard paste) or other clays, ground glassy substances, soapstone, bone ash, etc

  2. an object made of this or such objects collectively

  1. (modifier) of, relating to, or made from this material: a porcelain cup

Origin of porcelain

C16: from French porcelaine, from Italian porcellana cowrie shell, porcelain (from its shell-like finish), literally: relating to a sow (from the resemblance between a cowrie shell and a sow's vulva), from porcella little sow, from porca sow, from Latin; see pork

Derived forms of porcelain

  • porcellaneous (ˌpɔːsəˈleɪnɪəs), adjective

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