por·​ce·​lain | \ ˈpȯr-s(ə-)lən \

Definition of porcelain

1 : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from porcelain

porcelainlike \ ˈpȯr-​s(ə-​)lən-​ˌlīk \ adjective
porcelaneous or porcellaneous \ ˌpȯr-​sə-​ˈlā-​nē-​əs \ adjective

Examples of porcelain in a Sentence

The bowl is made of porcelain.

Recent Examples on the Web

Two major factors of the renovation came from the backsplash tile and porcelain floor tiles, Justina wrote. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "Designer Justina Blakeney Shared Amazing Before & Afters of her Parents' House," 31 Jan. 2019 Little Mix fans are accustomed to seeing Perrie Edwards in beauty blogger–level makeup, with porcelain skin often accompanied by her preferred statement smoky eyes. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Perrie Edwards Is Embracing Her Freckles in a Gorgeous Selfie Shared to Instagram," 15 Aug. 2018 Smart Museum of Art The University of Chicago's Smart Museum of Art houses a 15,000-piece permanent collection, covering everything from ancient Chinese porcelain to contemporary sculpture, and shows a handful of rotating exhibits at any given time. Elaine Glusac, Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Museums in Chicago," 27 Feb. 2018 Dinner was a chic Italianate affair: a symphony of glistening Richard Ginori porcelain and colorful Venetian glass goblets, with a menu of crab and langoustine cocktail followed by individual (and very cosy) shepherd’s pie and petit fours. Vogue, "Claire Foy, Idris Elba, Anna Wintour, Sophie Okonedo, Ralph Fiennes, and the Cast of Hamilton Fete the 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards," 19 Nov. 2018 Get Schooled in Southeast Asian Art Benjarong is an extremely delicate porcelain art that traces its roots from Thailand back to China. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Bangkok in January 2019," 18 Dec. 2018 And then there’s this wall of white porcelain urinals. Anne Hardy., Town & Country, "Annabel's, London's Most Famous Club, Is Auctioning Off Its Iconic Decor," 20 Nov. 2018 At Meissen, elegant porcelain has been made since the 1700s. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Touring Germany’s Most Festive Christmas Markets," 18 Dec. 2018 The other half of the object showed metal covering the porcelain-like cylinder. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Proof of alien visitors? Artifact from an ancient civilization? The truth is out there — in Seattle," 1 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'porcelain.' 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 porcelain

circa 1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about porcelain

Statistics for porcelain

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for porcelain

The first known use of porcelain was circa 1530

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for porcelain



English Language Learners Definition of porcelain

: a hard, white substance that is very delicate and that is made by baking clay


por·​ce·​lain | \ ˈpȯr-sə-lən \

Kids Definition of porcelain

: a hard white product of baked clay used especially for dishes, tile, and decorative objects


por·​ce·​lain | \ ˈpōr-s(ə-)lən, ˈpȯr- \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on porcelain

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


the perfect form or example of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!