Definition of porcelain in English:



mass noun
  • 1A white vitrified translucent ceramic; china.

    as modifier ‘a porcelain bowl’
    • ‘Auguste Rodin is world famous for his sculpture, but his work as a ceramicist at the Sevres porcelain manufactory is less well known.’
    • ‘From then on, glazed but undecorated white porcelain was made, along with the red stoneware Bottger had invented a few years earlier.’
    • ‘White porcelain dishes with your own butter knife, small touches, but they all add up in fine dining experiences.’
    • ‘The factory continues to make porcelain and bone china today.’
    • ‘Finally, was the cup made of bone china or ordinary porcelain?’
    • ‘The exact purple hues have been mixed in small blue and white loose-lidded porcelain dishes, brought by a pilot son from Hong Kong.’
    • ‘On the cloth I set porcelain bowls and dished out the first course.’
    • ‘There in a small blue and white porcelain dish sat the scarab ring.’
    • ‘She is a writer who energizes whatever she gives her attention to, an orange shriveling in the sun, an ink stain on a table, the white porcelain of a salad bowl.’
    • ‘These grandly baroque pieces in polished red stoneware are precursors of the white porcelain that was to follow in the 1730s and 40s.’
    • ‘The unusually fine clay yielded a porcelain china that was translucent with a glass-like finish.’
    • ‘She dipped the tips of her fingers into the scented water that had been laid before her, in china and porcelain bowls as white as the cloth upon which all the dishes had been placed.’
    • ‘The imperfections are then cleaned off with tools and the casting is put in the kiln at 1225 cone 6 and becomes vitrified porcelain.’
    • ‘My poached asparagus and ricotta looked rather minimalistic on the white porcelain plate when it arrived.’
    • ‘Each is well appointed, with freestanding roll-top cast-iron baths, step-in shower cubicles and Staffordshire porcelain ceramic ware.’
    • ‘The majority of work is stoneware and porcelain tableware.’
    • ‘Use a pot of white porcelain or glazed earthenware, with its edge partly serrated and provided with a lid, the skirt of which fits loosely inside’
    • ‘She withdrew her green rubber pony tail holder pulling her hair away from her face into a tight pony tail, revealing her porcelain china doll like face.’
    • ‘I also enjoy ceramic and porcelain vessels that have the shapes of gourds, vegetables and the like.’
    • ‘Besides Imari, the most famous names for porcelain are Arita, Kutani, Hirado, Kakiemon and Satsuma.’
    dishes, pots, crocks, plates, bowls, cups, saucers
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually porcelainscount noun An article made of porcelain.
      ‘the paintings, porcelains, and prints that go on the block’
      • ‘The five-day show will offer porcelains painted by Gu Linsheng, a famous Chinese painter, wines from different countries, about 300 kinds of coffee imported from Europe, America and Oceania.’
      • ‘Chinese porcelains produced for export are among the most revered of all ceramics.’
      • ‘Among the most highly prized exotic imports were porcelains.’
      • ‘It is no longer just porcelains decorated with colourful enamels and with mark and period that make the huge prices.’
      • ‘The founding fathers and mothers had deep fascination with the stylish Chinese porcelains, tea gear, silk, and books on China and Chinese political economy.’
      • ‘There were a grand staircase, a succession of public rooms overlooking the garden, painted and gilded paneling, and furniture and porcelains in the best taste.’
      • ‘An unusual surface treatment of the clear glass in the three panels recalls Chinese Kraak porcelains.’
      • ‘On Saturday, Sept.17, a crew of four spent the day cleaning, wrapping and packing a collection of Japanese Imari and Chinese blue-and-white porcelains stored there on tiered metal shelving.’
      • ‘Living in Sydney, he has had time to recall childhood experiences such as pressing his nose up against windows in the Summer Palace of the Forbidden City to see the antique porcelains contained within.’
      • ‘The earthenware works are hand-built of pads of clay and the porcelains of neater rectangular slabs; all show the pressure marks of fingers.’
      • ‘In addition to original colors and exactly reproduced textiles, almost all of the furnishings, including furniture, silver, porcelains, and portraits, belonged to Andrew Jackson.’
      • ‘Among the imports were decorative objects such as fans, prints, screens, and pottery and porcelains.’
      • ‘Although it is merely sixty pages long, and lamentably lacks footnotes, it is nonetheless the best and most up-to-date capsule history of Chinese porcelains made for the European and American markets available.’
      • ‘It acted rather like a superior form of name-tag, and enabled rights of possession to be marked centuries later, as the porcelains in this book are.’
      • ‘He decorated the gallery walls and populated vitrines with avian paintings, porcelains, books and prints.’
      • ‘This international exhibition includes some 200 paintings, sculptures, prints, porcelains and other objects that were created in Florence between 1537 and 1631.’
      • ‘The latter had a knack for persuading descendants of Chinese nobles to part with their inherited treasures, including rare paintings and porcelains with imperial provenances.’
      • ‘His acquisitions included Chinese porcelains, medieval and Renaissance paintings, and rare books, especially on religion.’
      • ‘It comprises more than seventy objects, including porcelains, paintings, watercolors, furniture, bronzes, screens, and jewelry.’
      • ‘Today it stands half-forgotten in the woods behind the Chateau de Rambouillet, in Rambouillet, denuded of its furnishings, its elegant porcelains, and most of its sculptures.’
    2. 1.2 Porcelain articles collectively.
      ‘a collection of Chinese porcelain’
      • ‘Again, many of these objects were inspired by the peerless collection of Chinese porcelain amassed by the Sultans and housed in the Topkapi, the best outside China.’
      • ‘One of the largest collections of 18th century porcelain yet found in Britain has been excavated in Hounslow, West London.’
      • ‘Today there is not a single large collection of Vincennes-Sevres porcelain that does not contain pieces painted by Dodin.’
      • ‘Holderness was an enthusiastic connoisseur of art and music and his Dutch wife assembled a distinguished collection of porcelain.’
      • ‘In addition, the museum features important collections of porcelain, enamels, ivories, arms, tapestries and furniture.’
      • ‘But Bowood also has a very fine collection of watercolours and porcelain collected by the family.’
      • ‘August assembled unrivalled collections of porcelain, and patronized Johann Friederich Boettger, who founded the Meissen factory in 1710.’
      • ‘In particular he had a fine collection of eighteenth century paintings, and a collection of Chinese porcelain.’
      • ‘These will include articles of wood, porcelain, jewellery, and a wide variety of gift and handmade items.’
      • ‘Wonderful collections of porcelain, pictures and furniture seemed to greet us in every room.’
      • ‘It is lavishly furnished with outstanding collections such as Chinese porcelain and Renaissance paintings.’
      • ‘When Railpen invested in art it bought a wide collection that spanned Chinese porcelain to African tribal paintings.’


Mid 16th century: from French porcelaine, from Italian porcellana ‘cowrie shell’, hence ‘chinaware’ (from its resemblance to the dense polished shells).