por·ce·lain (pôrsə-lĭn, pôrslĭn)
1. A hard, white, translucent ceramic made by firing a pure clay and then glazing it with variously colored fusible materials; china.
2. An object made of this substance.
[French porcelaine, cowry shell, porcelain, from Old French, from Old Italian porcellana, from feminine of porcellano, of a young sow (from the shell's resemblance to a pig's back), from porcella, young sow, diminutive of porca, sow, from Latin, feminine of porcus, pig; see porko- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
por′ce·lane·ous (-lānē-əs) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.