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Por"ce*lain (?), n. (Bot.) Purslain. [Obs.]
Por"ce*lain (277), n. [F. porcelaine, It. porcellana, orig., the porcelain shell, or Venus shell (Cypræa porcellana), from a dim. fr. L. porcus pig, probably from the resemblance of the shell in shape to a pig's back. Porcelain was called after this shell, either on account of its smoothness and whiteness, or because it was believed to be made from it. See Pork.] A fine translucent or semitransculent kind of earthenware, made first in China and Japan, but now also in Europe and America; -- called also China, or China ware.
Porcelain, by being pure, is apt to break. Dryden.
Ivory porcelain, porcelain with a surface like ivory, produced by depolishing. See Depolishing. -- Porcelain clay. See under Clay. -- Porcelain crab (Zo&ö;l.), any crab of the genus Porcellana and allied genera (family Porcellanidæ). They have a smooth, polished carapace. -- Porcelain jasper. (Min.) See Porcelanite. -- Porcelain printing, the transferring of an impression of an engraving to porcelain. -- Porcelain shell (Zo&ö;l.), a cowry.