enam·​el | \ i-ˈna-məl How to pronounce enamel (audio) \
enameled or enamelled; enameling or enamelling\ i-​ˈnam-​liŋ How to pronounce enamelling (audio) , -​ˈna-​mə-​ \

Definition of enamel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cover, inlay, or decorate with enamel
2 : to beautify with a colorful surface
3 : to form a glossy surface on (a material, such as paper, leather, or cloth)



Definition of enamel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a usually opaque vitreous composition applied by fusion to the surface of metal, glass, or pottery
2 : a surface or outer covering that resembles enamel
3a : something that is enameled
4 : a cosmetic intended to give a smooth or glossy appearance
5 : a hard calcareous substance that forms a thin layer capping the teeth — see tooth illustration
6 : a paint that flows out to a smooth coat when applied and that dries with a glossy appearance

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from enamel


enameler noun
enamelist \ i-​ˈna-​mə-​list How to pronounce enamelist (audio) \ noun

Examples of enamel in a Sentence


The tea set is decorated with enamel. an artist who works with enamels The museum has a fine collection of enamels.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Every grill flared somewhat, but the Q 1,200 (and the Coleman below) have heavy enameled cast iron grates that are closed over the actual burners, which helps keep the flaring under control. Scott Gilbertson, WIRED, "Fire Fest! The 5 Best Portable Grills You Can Buy," 6 July 2019 Sixties David Webb enameled lion head cuff links (and my wedding band)! Will Kahn, Town & Country, "The Story Behind Marc Jacobs' Wedding Cufflinks and Penguin Pins," 17 Apr. 2019 That's a savings of $180, or a whopping 70% off quality enameled cookware that looks just like French stuff. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Cuisinart Cast Iron Skillets Are More Than 70% Off on Amazon Today," 15 Aug. 2018 The freestanding bathtub is made by Agape, based in Mantua, Italy, and is available in two sizes—standard and small—and two finishes: all white or with a white interior and enameled dark exterior. Karen Bruno, WSJ, "Homeowners Discover (Again) the Luxury of Soaking Tubs," 14 June 2018 The first, second and third bases shall be canvas bags painted white and filled with sand or sawdust, the home base and pitchers point to be each marked by a flat circular iron plate painted or enamelled white. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "The long-lost ‘Laws of Base Ball,’ and one fan’s outsize bid to get them," 18 May 2018 For picnics and road trips, these stackable enameled stainless steel bowls are portability at its chicest. Zoë Sessums, Bon Appetit, "The Best Kitchen Products to Buy at Anthropologie’s Spring Sale," 6 Apr. 2018 Le Creuset’s classic enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are great for braises, baking bread, and even weeknight pasta. Melissa Minton, Bon Appetit, "Le Creuset to Release New 7-Piece Stainless Steel Collection," 15 Mar. 2018 Photo: Brett Beyer Photography for Bis Bis (2) CRACKLED Lisa Nemrow, a principal of Un-Gyve Group, Boston, uses enameled lava for its durability and stain resistance. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "The Versatile Volcanic Rock That’s Showing Up in Home Décor," 8 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And for the first lady, the British monarch commissioned a silver box with an enamel lid featuring rose, thistle, and shamrock details that were inspired by the ceiling decorations of the Music Room of the palace. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Gives Donald Trump a First-Edition Copy of Churchill’s World War II Book," 3 June 2019 In 1992, the finder of the tooth fossil, Phil Gingerich, and collaborators Jim Zachos and Paul Koch reported the same isotope anomalies in its enamel that Kennett and Stott had presented in their ocean findings a year earlier. Quanta Magazine, "A World Without Clouds," 25 Feb. 2019 Works can range from metalsmithing and jewelry to paintings in oil, acrylics and watercolors to photography, illustrations, fiber, glass, wood, paper, enamel, clay sculpture and pottery and other modalities. Joan Rusek, cleveland.com, "Jump into summer fun with new activities galore: Valley Views," 16 June 2019 Dispersed throughout the enamel, however, the researchers found tiny nanocrystals that prevent light from reflecting off of the teeth’s surface and camouflage them in the deep ocean, the team reports today in the journal Matter. Helen Santoro, Science | AAAS, "The transparent teeth of this dragonfish evolved for one lethal purpose," 5 June 2019 Start at Heyday, a year-old, millennial-pink boutique with colorful cappuccino cups, pastel tassel earrings, cheeky enamel pins and a coffee bar serving red-velvet lattes. Ingrid K. Williams, New York Times, "36 Hours in Gothenburg, Sweden," 10 May 2018 This set comes with a red enamel exterior and stainless steel handles that'll add a fun pop of color to your kitchen. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping, "5 Best Ceramic Cookware Sets to Buy in 2019, According to Kitchen Product Experts," 1 Mar. 2019 So all eyes and hearts among the Amerikites became hardened with the enamel of fanaticism and the glaze of hysteria. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "The Book of Donald," 4 Oct. 2018 If your child is somewhat older and teeth grinding is causing a significant amount of pain or problems such as misalignment or worn-down tooth enamel, her dentist may recommend a night guard. Mary Caldwell, ajc, "Is your child's teeth grinding normal?," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enamel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of enamel


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for enamel


Middle English, from Anglo-French enameller, from en- + asmal, esmal enamel, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German smelzan to melt — more at smelt entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about enamel

Statistics for enamel

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enamel

The first known use of enamel was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for enamel



English Language Learners Definition of enamel

: a material like colored glass that is heated until it is liquid and then used to decorate the surface of metal, glass, or pottery
: something decorated with enamel
: the very hard outer layer of a tooth


enam·​el | \ i-ˈna-məl How to pronounce enamel (audio) \
enameled or enamelled; enameling or enamelling

Kids Definition of enamel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cover or decorate with a smooth hard glossy coating enamel a pot



Kids Definition of enamel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a glassy substance used to coat the surface of metal, glass, and pottery
2 : the hard outer surface of the teeth
3 : a paint that dries to form a hard glossy coat


enam·​el | \ in-ˈam-əl How to pronounce enamel (audio) \

Medical Definition of enamel

: the intensely hard calcareous substance that forms a thin layer partly covering the teeth of many vertebrates including humans, is the hardest substance of the animal body, and consists of minute prisms secreted by ameloblasts, arranged at right angles to the surface, and bound together by a cement substance — compare cementum, dentin

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on enamel

Spanish Central: Translation of enamel

Nglish: Translation of enamel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about enamel

Comments on enamel

What made you want to look up enamel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!