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See also: porcélaine



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)

  1. cowrie, a mollusk of the family Cypraeidae, or its translucent shell
  2. porcelain, the translucent ceramic of fine china, or vessels made of this material



  • "porcelaine", Le petit Robert 1, 1990 edition.
  • "porcelain", Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition.

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