Definition of kaolin in US English:

kaolin

noun

  • 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.’
    • ‘The white kaolin clay has extra fine particles that simultaneously thwart insects and act as an alkaline barrier to fungal spores.’
    • ‘They were the first to use kaolin clay for porcelains, so that when thin enough, the walls revealed breathtaking translucency.’
    • ‘But the fine, white clay called kaolin was essential.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Other talc alternatives include slippery elm bark, kaolin clay and bentonite clay.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A mixture of 33% kaolin and 67% fine sand by dry weight was used to prepare the K33 soil specimen.’
    • ‘They also noted that much kaolin is in or near decomposed porphyry bodies that overlie the largest ore shoots in the Leadville Dolomite.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

kaolin

/ˈkāələn//ˈkeɪələn/