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POR'CELAIN, n. [L. portulaca.]
noun Etymology: Middle French porcelaine cowrie shell, porcelain, from Italian porcellana, from porcello vulva, literally, little pig, from Latin porcellus, diminutive of porcus pig, vulva; from the shape of the shell — more at farrow Date: circa 1530
n. 1 a hard vitrified translucent ceramic. 2 objects made of this. Phrases and idioms: porcelain clay kaolin. porcelain-shell cowrie. Derivatives: porcellaneous adj. porcellanous adj. Etymology: F porcelaine cowrie, porcelain f. It. porcellana f. porcella dimin. of porca sow (a cowrie being perh. likened to a sow's vulva) f. L porca fem. of porcus pig
Porcelain Por"ce*lain (277), n. [F. porcelaine, It. porcellana, orig., the porcelain shell, or Venus shell (Cypr[ae]a porcellana), from a dim. fr. L. porcus pig, probably from the resemblance of the shell in shape to a pig's back. Porcelain was called after this shell, either on account of its smoothness and whiteness, or because it was believed to be made from it. See Pork.] A fine translucent or semitransculent kind of earthenware, made first in China and Japan, but now also in Europe and America; -- called also China, or China ware. Porcelain, by being pure, is apt to break. --Dryden. Ivory porcelain, porcelain with a surface like ivory, produced by depolishing. See Depolishing. Porcelain clay. See under Clay. Porcelain crab (Zo["o]l.), any crab of the genus Porcellana and allied genera (family Porcellanid[ae]). They have a smooth, polished carapace. Porcelain jasper. (Min.) See Porcelanite. Porcelain printing, the transferring of an impression of an engraving to porcelain. Porcelain shell (Zo["o]l.), a cowry.
Porcelain Por"ce*lain, n. (Bot.) Purslain. [Obs.]
(porcelains) 1. Porcelain is a hard, shiny substance made by heating clay. It is used to make delicate cups, plates, and ornaments. There were lilies everywhere in tall white porcelain vases. N-UNCOUNT 2. A porcelain is an ornament that is made of porcelain. You can refer to a number of such ornaments as porcelain. ...a priceless collection of English porcelain. N-VAR
adobe, biscuit, bisque, bowl, brick, cement, ceramic ware, ceramics, china, clay, crock, crockery, enamel, enamelware, firebrick, glass, jug, pot, pottery, refractory, tile, tiling, urn, vase