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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A hard, white, translucent ceramic made by firing a pure clay and then glazing it with variously colored fusible materials; china.
  • n. An object made of this substance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hard, white, translucent ceramic that is made by firing kaolin and other materials; china.
  • n. Anything manufactured from this material..

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Purslain.
  • n. 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A ceramic ware having a translucent body, and when glazed (see biscuit, 3) a translucent glaze also.
  • n. A hard-paste porcelain made in the early part of the nineteenth century.
  • n. See Petit porcelain.
  • n. A modern porcelain, of which the variety best known is unglazed works of art, such as statuettes and groups. Thorwaldsen's works, especially, have been copied in this ware.
  • n. Less properly, when the decoration is produced by casting or pressing the whole surface before the color is applied.
  • n. A hard-paste porcelain made from 1779 to the present day. The kaolin was obtained from St. Yrieix in the neighborhood, and the ware was especially brilliant and translucent as long as this alone was used. The modern porcelain includes much of the most important ceramic production of modern France.
  • n. A hard-paste porcelain made from 1769, in consequence of the discovery of deposits of kaolin in France. This manufacture has reached greater merit of late years than before the revolution: in size and perfection the pieces surpass anything produced elsewhere, and the painting shows unparalleled skill and mastery of the material, whatever may be thought of its appropriateness and good taste as decoration. The mark under the kings of the old régime was always the royal cipher L L, front to front, crossing above and below, and within the space so inclosed a letter denoting the year of manufacture, a double alphabet beginning in 1778. AA, etc. Under the republic, the word Sèvres, and R. F. for République Francaise, were used; under the empire, M. Imple. de Sevres, sometimes with the imperial eagle, was used. The restored kings used a cipher of LL and one of CC; Louis Philippe, a cipher L. P., and often the name of the palace for which the ware was made. The 1848 republic restored the R. F.; and the second empire, a crowned N, with S for Sèvres, and the date, as 56. 57. But since about 1830 all pieces are marked before decorating with the letter S, and a date in green included in a cartouche, and, when the piece is sold undecorated, this mark is cut through by a touch to a grinding-wheel.
  • Of the nature of or consisting of porcelain: as, porcelain adornments.
  • n. An obsolete form of purslane.
  • n. Carr porcelain, soft-paste porcelain and Parian ware produced by James Carr, of New York city, from about 1876 until 1885.
  • n. Cartlidge porcelain, soft-paste porcelain and Parian, made by Charles Cartlidge, at Greenpoint, New York, from 1848 to 1856. Among his products were table-services, door-plates and hardware furnishings artistically painted, and Parian portraits, plaques, and busts of eminent men.
  • n. Carved Belleek, a variety of Belleek porcelain made at Trenton, New Jersey, and carved in artistic low-relief designs while in the dry clay state, before burning. Vases and lamp-shades have been made in this style, the effect of the varying thickness of the walls, when artificial light is introduced, being that of a lithophane.
  • n. Greenpoint porcelain, a name given to the hard-paste porcelain produced at the Union Porcelain Works, at Greenpoint, New York, from 1865 to the present time. The principal product has been hardware furnishings, but a large amount of decorative ware, in the form of vases, figures, groups, and busts, has also been produced there.
  • n. Hemphill porcelain, a hard-paste porcelain made in Philadelphia from 1832 to 1837. See Tucker porcelain, below.
  • n. Hulme porcelain, hard-paste porcelain produced in Philadelphia in 1828. See Tucker porcelain, below.
  • n. Kurlbaum and Schwartz porcelain, hard-paste porcelain manufactured in Philadelphia from about 1851 to 1855. This product was of the finest quality of body and mechanical execution, the decorations being carefully painted in gold.
  • n. Mead porcelain, a fine quality of soft-paste porcelain made by Dr. Mead, in New York city, during the second decade of the nineteenth century: the first soft-paste porcelain that is known to have been produced in the United States. Known vases of this manufacture are entirely white, with handles modeled in the forms of winged female figures.
  • n. (10) Smith-Fife porcelain, hard-paste porcelain made in Philadelphia about 1830, somewhat resembling the Tucker porcelain of the same period, in body, decorations, and shapes, but of a more yellowish tint of paste.
  • n. (11) Tucker porcelain, a true hard-paste porcelain, with a small percentage of bone-ash, of a bluish tint, made by William Ellis Tucker, of Philadelphia, from 1825 to 1832. The earliest products were decorated with brown or sepia landscapes. In 1828 Thomas Hulme formed a copartnership with Tucker, under the style of Tucker & Hulme, but retired from the firm in about one year. In 1832 Joseph Hemphill was admitted as a partner, and a few months later Mr. Tucker died. The business was then carried on by Hemphill alone for several years. In 1837, Thomas Tucker, a brother of the founder, became sole proprietor, but in the following year the manufacture ceased. During Hemphill's proprietorship the ware was greatly improved. Potters and decorators were brought from Europe, and for a few years the manufacture was eminently successful. The ware resembled the French hard-paste porcelain of the same period, in body, shapes, and painted decorations. During the best period landscapes and wreaths of flowers were painted on the glaze in refined colorings, and the quality of the gilding was superior to that of the imported wares. The products of the factory were table-services, decorative jugs, vases in the French style, fruit-baskets, ornamental figures, ornate cologne-bottles, night-lamps, and a multiplicity of shapes, both useful and ornamental. This was the first hard-paste procelain produced in America, and in many respects it has not since been surpassed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. ceramic ware made of a more or less translucent ceramic


French porcelaine, cowry shell, porcelain, from Old French, from Old Italian porcellana, from feminine of porcellano, of a young sow (from the shell's resemblance to a pig's back), from porcella, young sow, diminutive of porca, sow, from Latin, feminine of porcus, pig; see porko- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French porcelaine 'cowrie, chinaware', from Italian porcellana 'cowrie, chinaware', from porcella, the mussel and cockle shells which painters put their pigments in, literally 'female piglet'. (Wiktionary)



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    French porcelaine, cowry shell, porcelain, from Old French, from Old Italian porcellana, from feminine of porcellano, of a young sow (from the shell's resemblance to a pig's back), from porcella, young sow, diminutive of porca, sow, from Latin, feminine of porcus, pig; see porko- in Indo-European roots

    Houghton Mifflin

    November 8, 2010