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Definition of PORCELAIN
: a hard, fine-grained, sonorous, nonporous, and usually translucent and white ceramic ware that consists essentially of kaolin, quartz, and a feldspathic rock and is fired at a high temperature —called also hard-paste porcelain, true porcelain
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
First Known Use: circa 1530
noun\ˈpōr-s(ə-)lən, ˈpȯr-\(Medical Dictionary)
Medical Definition of PORCELAIN
: a hard, fine-grained, nonporous, and usually translucent and white ceramic ware that consists essentially of kaolin, quartz, and feldspar and that has many uses in dentistry
Vitrified pottery with a white, fine-grained body that is usually translucent. It was first made in China during the Tang dynasty (618–907) and in its advanced form during the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368). The three main types are true (or hard-paste) porcelain, artificial (or soft-paste) porcelain, and bone china. Attempts by medieval European potters to imitate true porcelain led to the discovery of soft-paste porcelain, which can be cut with a file. The secret of true porcelain was discovered c. 1707 in Saxony. Standard English bone china was produced c. 1800 when Josiah Spode II (1754–1827) added calcined bones to the hard-paste porcelain formula. Hard-paste porcelain, though strong, chips more readily than bone china. See alsoBow porcelain; Chantilly porcelain; Chelsea porcelain; Meissen porcelain; Nymphenburg porcelain; Saint-Cloud porcelain; Sèvres porcelain; stoneware.