What does porcelain mean?

Definitions for porcelain
ˈpɔr sə lɪn, ˈpoʊr-; ˈpɔrs lɪn, ˈpoʊrs-porce·lain

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word porcelain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. porcelainnoun

    ceramic ware made of a more or less translucent ceramic


  1. porcelainnoun

    a hard, white, translucent ceramic that is made by firing kaolin and other materials; china.

  2. porcelainnoun

    anything manufactured from this material.

  3. Etymology: From porcelaine 'cowrie, chinaware', from porcellana 'cowrie, chinaware', from porcella, the mussel and cockle shells which painters put their pigments in, literally 'female piglet'.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Porcelainnoun

    Etymology: porcelaine, Fr. said to be derived from pourcent anneés; because it was believed by Europeans, that the materials of porcelain was matured under ground one hundred years.

    We have burials in several earths, where we put divers cements, as the Chinese do their porcelain. Francis Bacon.

    We are not thoroughly resolved concerning porcelain or china dishes; that according to common belief, they are made of earth, which lieth in preparation about a hundred years under ground. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours.

    The fine materials made it weak;
    Porcelain, by being pure, is apt to break. Dryden.

    These look like the workmanship of heav’n:
    This is the porcelain clay of human kind,
    And therefore cast into these noble molds. Dryden.


  1. Porcelain

    Porcelain () is a ceramic material made by heating substances, generally including materials such as kaolinite, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C (2,200 and 2,600 °F). The strength and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from vitrification and formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Though definitions vary, porcelain can be divided into three main categories: hard-paste, soft-paste, and bone china. The categories differ by composition of the body and the firing conditions. Porcelain slowly evolved in China and was finally achieved (depending on the definition used) at some point about 2,000 to 1,200 years ago; it slowly spread to other East Asian countries, then to Europe, and eventually to the rest of the world. Its manufacturing process is more demanding than that for earthenware and stoneware, the two other main types of pottery, and it has usually been regarded as the most prestigious type of pottery for its delicacy, strength, and its white colour. It combines well with both glazes and paint, and can be modelled very well, allowing a huge range of decorative treatments in tableware, vessels, and figurines. It also has many uses in technology and industry. The European name, porcelain in English, comes from the old Italian porcellana (cowrie shell) because of its resemblance to the surface of the shell. Porcelain is also referred to as china or fine china in some English-speaking countries, as it was first seen in imports from China during the 17th century. Properties associated with porcelain include low permeability and elasticity; considerable strength, hardness, whiteness, translucency, and resonance; and a high resistance to corrosive chemicals and thermal shock. Porcelain has been described as being "completely vitrified, hard, impermeable (even before glazing), white or artificially coloured, translucent (except when of considerable thickness), and resonant". However, the term "porcelain" lacks a universal definition and has "been applied in an unsystematic fashion to substances of diverse kinds which have only certain surface-qualities in common".Traditionally, East Asia only classifies pottery into low-fired wares (earthenware) and high-fired wares (often translated as porcelain), the latter also including what Europeans call "stoneware", which is high-fired but not generally white or translucent. Terms such as "proto-porcelain", "porcellaneous" or "near-porcelain" may be used in cases where the ceramic body approaches whiteness and translucency.


  1. porcelain

    Porcelain is a type of hard, white, translucent ceramic typically made by firing a pure clay and then glazing it, often used in fine tableware and decorative art. Its composition usually includes kaolin (a type of clay), feldspar, and quartz. It originated in China and is renowned for its delicate, refined textures and rich decorative designs.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Porcelainnoun


  2. Porcelainnoun

    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

  3. Etymology: [F. porcelaine, It. porcellana, orig., the porcelain shell, or Venus shell (Cypra 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.]


  1. Porcelain

    Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 °C and 1,400 °C. The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain arise mainly from the formation of glass and the mineral mullite within the fired body at these high temperatures. Porcelain derives its present name from old Italian porcellana because of its resemblance to the translucent surface of the shell. Porcelain can informally be referred to as "china" or "fine china" in some English-speaking countries, as China was the birthplace of porcelain making. Properties associated with porcelain include low permeability and elasticity; considerable strength, hardness, toughness, whiteness, translucency and resonance; and a high resistance to chemical attack and thermal shock. For the purposes of trade, the Combined Nomenclature of the European Communities defines porcelain as being "completely vitrified, hard, impermeable, white or artificially coloured, translucent, and resonant." However, the term porcelain lacks a universal definition and has "been applied in a very unsystematic fashion to substances of diverse kinds which have only certain surface-qualities in common".

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Porcelain

    pors′lān, n. a fine earthenware, white, thin, semi-transparent, first made in China: china-ware.—adj. of the nature of porcelain.—adjs. Por′celānous, Porcellā′neous, Por′cellānous.—n. Por′cellanite, a very hard, impure, jaspideous rock.—Cast, or Fusible, porcelain, a milky glass made of silica and cryolite with oxide of zinc; Egg-shell porcelain, an extremely thin and translucent porcelain; False porcelain, a name given to the artificial or soft-paste porcelain; Frit porcelain, a name given to artificial soft-paste English porcelain, from its vitreous nature; Tender porcelain, a ware imitating hard-paste or natural porcelain. [O. Fr. porcelaine—It. porcellana, the Venus' shell—L. porcella, a young sow—porcus, a pig.]

Editors Contribution

  1. porcelain

    Is a type of ceramic material.

    Many dishes, cups, plates and decorations are made from Porcelain.

    Submitted by MaryC on August 5, 2015  

Matched Categories

How to pronounce porcelain?

How to say porcelain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of porcelain in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of porcelain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of porcelain in a Sentence

  1. Scott C. Holstad:

    You could see it in her eyes – pain made them very deep. Everything about her reeked of death – that gorgeous skin, haunted eyes, porcelain breasts – death masking a soul just marking time. People wanted to get into her. She just wanted a grave. Some wishes eventually get fulfilled.

  2. Tom Carter:

    Hair salon doorways in the capital city's pink light district. Working as a xiaojie is an alternative, albeit illicit, means of income for these underprivileged girls, who are known in Jiangxi as "porcelain with cracks" and in Ningxia as "wilted flowers".

  3. Tory Burch:

    Porcelain has always been a passion, i was raised around it.

  4. Ezra Pound:

    As a bathtub lined with white porcelain, when the hot water gives out or goes tepid, so is the slow cooling of our chivalrous passion, o my much praised but-not-altogether-satisfactory lady.

  5. John Adams:

    I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

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"porcelain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/porcelain>.

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