porcelain

[ pawr-suh-lin, pohr-; pawrs-lin, pohrs- ]
/ ˈpɔr sə lɪn, ˈpoʊr-; ˈpɔrs lɪn, ˈpoʊrs- /

noun

a strong, vitreous, translucent ceramic material, biscuit-fired at a low temperature, the glaze then fired at a very high temperature.
ware made from this.

Origin of porcelain

1520–30; < French porcelaine < Italian porcellana orig., 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

Related forms

por·ce·la·ne·ous, por·cel·la·ne·ous [pawr-suh-ley-nee-uh s, pohr-] /ˌpɔr səˈleɪ ni əs, ˌpoʊr-/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for porcelain

British Dictionary definitions for porcelain

porcelain

/ (ˈpɔːslɪn, -leɪn, ˈpɔːsə-) /

noun

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
an object made of this or such objects collectively
(modifier) of, relating to, or made from this materiala porcelain cup

Derived Forms

porcellaneous (ˌpɔːsəˈleɪnɪəs), adjective

Word Origin for 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
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