From Old French (1298 AD) pourcelaine (“cowrie, cockle, or similar univalve seashell; the polished material of these shells”). By metaphorical extension, also fine china, which had a similar appearance. From Italian (13th century, in Marco Polo) porcellana (“cowrie; china; vagina”). From porcella (“the mussel and cockle shells which painters put their pigments in”, literally “female piglet”), the diminutive of porca (“sow”), from porco (“pig”), from Latin porcus (“pig”).
porcelaine f (plural porcelaines)
- cowrie, a mollusk of the family Cypraeidae, or its translucent shell
- porcelain, the translucent ceramic of fine china, or vessels made of this material
- English: porcelain
- "porcelaine", Le petit Robert 1, 1990 edition.
- "porcelain", Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition.