Definition of kaolin in English:



  • A fine, soft white clay, resulting from the natural decomposition of other clays or feldspar. It is used for making porcelain and china, as a filler in paper and textiles, and in medicinal absorbents.

    Also called china clay
    • ‘Surprisingly, many of these are inorganic minerals; for example talc and kaolin or china clay.’
    • ‘An extensive residue of white kaolin clay pigment is preserved on the exterior surface, which also exhibits extensive striations and wear, apparently the result of the processing and working of the pigment on the dish.’
    • ‘They were the first to use kaolin clay for porcelains, so that when thin enough, the walls revealed breathtaking translucency.’
    • ‘In contrast with the white kaolin clay, ndimba cannot be found as such in nature: clumps of black river clay (kala tuma) are burned in an open fire until they turn red.’
    • ‘The white kaolin clay has extra fine particles that simultaneously thwart insects and act as an alkaline barrier to fungal spores.’
    • ‘A mixture of 33% kaolin and 67% fine sand by dry weight was used to prepare the K33 soil specimen.’
    • ‘Other talc alternatives include slippery elm bark, kaolin clay and bentonite clay.’
    • ‘But the fine, white clay called kaolin was essential.’
    • ‘He limits himself to a few colors, employing the off-white of kaolin and such dark earth tones as red, brown and black in his allover, schematic compositions.’
    • ‘They also noted that much kaolin is in or near decomposed porphyry bodies that overlie the largest ore shoots in the Leadville Dolomite.’


Early 18th century: from French, from Chinese gāolǐng, literally high hill the name of a mountain in Jiangxi province where the clay is found.