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porcelain

Your mom's favorite white china plates are probably made out of porcelain. Porcelain is a nearly translucent ceramic material used to make plates, bowls, and cups.

The dishes at a fancy restaurant are often porcelain, a fine, delicate kind of china. Sometimes knickknacks, dolls, and art objects are also made from porcelain. The word comes from the Italian word for "cowrie shell," porcellana, which compares the shiny look of porcelain to the polished inside of a shell. Porcelain has a tricky spelling — although it ends with ain, it rhymes with ten, not rain.

Definitions of porcelain
  1. noun
    ceramic ware made of a more or less translucent ceramic
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    types:
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    china
    high quality porcelain originally made only in China
    Spode
    a brand of fine English porcelain
    bone china
    fine porcelain that contains bone ash
    crackle, crackle china, crackleware
    glazed china with a network of fine cracks on the surface
    type of:
    ceramic ware
    utensils made from ceramic material
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