<botany> Purslain.

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 Clay.

<zoology> Porcelain crab, a cowry.

Origin: F. Porcelaine, It. Porcellana, orig, the porcelain shell, or Venus shell (Cypraea 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.

(01 Mar 1998)

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