Meaning of enamel in English:


Pronunciation /ɪˈnam(ə)l/

See synonyms for enamel on

Translate enamel into Spanish


mass noun
  • 1An opaque or semi-transparent glossy substance that is a type of glass, applied by vitrification to metallic or other hard surfaces for ornament or as a protective coating.

    ‘pieces of metalwork decorated with enamel’
    • ‘white enamel bowls’
    • ‘a dagger inlaid with bone and enamels’
    • ‘Bright impervious surfaces in plaster, white paint, vitreous enamel, glass or stainless steel are not just cleanable but seen to be clean.’
    • ‘Creamy appliance wax can be used on painted surfaces for protection and ease of cleaning, but is not needed on porcelain enamel surfaces.’
    • ‘Ting has used a range of materials including English bone china, glass, enamel and platinum.’
    • ‘Prepare in non-metallic containers such as glass, earthenware or enamel pots.’
    • ‘In its original sense enamel is glass or vitreous paste fused to a prepared surface, usually of metal, by means of intense heat.’
    • ‘The earliest samples of enamel using glass can be traced to before 2,500 B.C. to the Sumerian and Egyptian civilisations.’
    • ‘There's also a mix of natural wood and white porcelain, steel and glass, and the latest brightly coloured lacquer or enamel finishes.’
    • ‘In the 19th century, all known translucent coloured enamels have a high lead content.’
    • ‘The translucent enamel back ground which looks almost black is in fact a dark burgundy.’
    • ‘Comparable plaques painted in enamels on copper are scarce.’
    • ‘The artists use acrylic enamel, which dries fast when heat is applied.’
    • ‘He is turning the taps now and the water spills into the enamel basin.’
    • ‘He had covered the falcon with black enamel to keep its value hidden.’
    • ‘Black enamel mixed with diamanté in art deco chandelier styles will look good with the op art inspired prints.’
    • ‘I held out the gun for him to take, its sleek black enamel glinting dully in the fluorescent light.’
    • ‘The enamel finish is available in an array of colors to accent any kitchen.’
    • ‘The enamel finish of the oddly crafted table also reveals the touch of a painter's hand.’
    • ‘A baked synthetic resin enamel finish is applied to one or both sides over a chemical conversion coating.’
    • ‘She makes us thick, sweet, black tea in cracked enamel mugs.’
    • ‘Many of their 21st century residents still have to empty enamel chamber pots in public toilets every morning.’
    1. 1.1count noun A work of art executed in enamel.
      ‘a collection of ceramics and enamels’
      • ‘Under his direction, wares in the style of the French renaissance Limoges enamels were executed.’
      • ‘The plaque illustrated here may show the influence of Liomges enamels, demonstrating Rodin's interest in renaissance art.’
      • ‘A panel painting might have a background of stamped, gilded gesso and enamels and precious stones in its frame.’
      • ‘Her sculptural designs incorporate softly rounded shapes and matt enamels with gentle tonal variations that possess a subtle simplicity.’
      • ‘How has 81-year-old Subramanyan's art practice often defined the cutting edge within the contemporary Indian idiom, ranging from murals to reverse paintings, from enamels to sculpture?’
      • ‘Like the majority of 16 th-century translucent coloured enamels, those in the portrait of Marguerite de France as Minerva have a low lead content.’
      • ‘She is probably best known for mixed-medium reliefs that include colored enamels or wax, but her mediums have ranged from photography to craft-store findings.’
      • ‘The museum displays 200 paintings and 50 sculptures, as well as porcelain, enamels, ivories, arms, tapestries and furniture.’
      • ‘Among the 150 objects included are sculpture, panel paintings, illuminated manuscripts, textiles, gold and silver works, jewelry, enamels and ivories.’
      • ‘The exhibition consists of jewelry, carved gemstones, inlaid hardstones, enamels and objects made from precious metals.’
      • ‘The displayed assemblage of silver, silver-gilt, enamels and jewels looked fabulous at the view, and drew unexpected crowds - and prices.’
      • ‘Japanese bronzes, enamels, and ceramics of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries inspired new vase shapes for European ceramicists including Doat.’
      • ‘Currently, she creates enamels and prints in her own studio.’
      • ‘Venetian ceramics, textiles, sculpture, enamels and glass will also be on view.’
      • ‘The enamel of Marguerite de France is signed by Jean de Court on the reverse and dated 1555.’
      • ‘She suggests that the inscriptions on these enamels identify a workshop, rather than individual enamellers, and that the Wallace Collection enamel might have been made there.’
      • ‘In addition, the museum features important collections of porcelain, enamels, ivories, arms, tapestries and furniture.’
      • ‘Everything from jades to paintings; bronzes and lacquer; porcelain, glass and enamel; wood, pottery, textiles and costumes.’
      • ‘Her double-height central hall was dressed with trophies of arms, and two wall cases containing Venetian glass and Limoges enamels were flanked by maiolica ceramics mounted on the wall.’
      • ‘A much more successful translation onto porcelain of the composition on the screens is found on the circular food box decorated in famille verte enamels shown in Plates Villa and VIIIb.’
  • 2The hard glossy substance that covers the crown of a tooth.

    ‘There are two parts to a tooth: the crown, which is covered by enamel and is the visible part of the tooth, and the root, which lies underneath the gums.’
    • ‘The bacteria digest the carbohydrates in the food and produce acid, which dissolves the tooth's enamel and causes a cavity.’
    • ‘Human teeth are made up of four different types of tissue: pulp, dentin, enamel, and cementum.’
    • ‘Teeth form mainly from neuroectoderm and comprise a crown of insensitive enamel surrounding sensitive dentine and a root that has no enamel covering.’
    • ‘Fluoride can considerably benefit dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks that can cause tooth decay.’
    • ‘It increases the fluoride content of the enamel of newly erupted teeth, thereby increasing the resistance of these teeth to caries.’
    • ‘Dental decay is when bacteria in the mouth break down the enamel of a tooth.’
    • ‘The outer layer of enamel is an extremely hard, highly mineralized, crystalline structure that covers and protects the crown of the tooth.’
    • ‘Tooth enamel, the hardest substance in our bodies, provides a durable coating for the softer dentin underneath.’
    • ‘Drinking green tea actually makes tooth enamel tougher and more resistant to corrosive acid foods, and there is evidence that it reduces liver damage.’
    • ‘Bacteria in dental plaque produce acid, which dissolve the minerals in the tooth enamel causing initial lesions and dental caries.’
    • ‘And as a result they believe they will be able to develop new treatments to repair damaged tooth enamel and replace lost minerals.’
    • ‘High levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine found in smoke, erode tooth enamel.’
    • ‘Choose a supplement made without sugar and avoid chewable forms, as these can erode tooth enamel.’
    • ‘Bacteria in plaque around teeth metabolize sugars rapidly, creating local areas of high acidity which erode tooth enamel.’
    • ‘The highly acidic nature of this drink also increases the risk of erosion of dental enamel.’
    • ‘Most of these features can be seen in the image of the developing dental enamel in the frog, Rana.’
    • ‘Dental caries occur when bacteria destroy the enamel surface of the tooth and cause decay.’
    • ‘Children born prematurely are likely to have enamel defects in both primary and permanent teeth.’
    • ‘Although fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel, tooth decay from sugar still occurs.’
    • ‘Certain diets such as those rich in hard fruits or grasses leave tiny distinctive damage patterns on enamel surfaces.’
  • 3

    (also enamel paint)
    A paint that dries to give a smooth, hard coat.

    ‘one coat of enamel and three coats of varnish’
    • ‘a new super gloss enamel’
    • ‘Sand, prime, and paint the chair using two or more coats of semigloss latex enamel paint.’
    • ‘Remove wallpaper and install tile, or paint walls with mold-resistant enamel paint.’
    • ‘Evidence of her home-grown methods can be found in the alligatored texture of some of her pieces, where she may have layered enamel paint before the undercoat dried.’
    • ‘Instead of ink, Woods made all the prints with two fat layers of near-primary-colored gloss enamel paint, an idiosyncratic printing process that contributed to the show's impact.’
    • ‘Yet once the drawings are transferred to sheets of Mylar or aluminum panels, she carefully fills their contours with enamel paint.’
    • ‘Outside is a coating of sugar, latex enamel paint, and an insecticide such as imidacloprid.’
    • ‘She painted the oven doors periwinkle blue then touched up knobs and dials in a bright orange enamel paint.’
    • ‘Prime the wall with a low luster latex enamel paint and allow it to dry completely before the next step.’
    • ‘Drawing, cutting with a jigsaw, mixing the enamel paint and painting the cutouts proved more difficult than the students had imagined.’
    • ‘To create his paintings, he stencils wide bands and squares of colorful enamel paint over bright acrylic grounds.’
    • ‘Delicate little layers of enamel paint covered an oval of wood about the size of a biscuit.’
    • ‘Using a roller and black enamel paint, the stencil was applied 250 times on each of a hundred 48-inch-square canvases.’
    • ‘I've just finished doing some painting with enamel paint and my room stinks of white spirit.’
    • ‘When possible, I marked wasps on the body with a dot of white enamel paint to allow for individual recognition.’
    • ‘Prime, then paint with a base coat of enamel floor paint.’
    • ‘If you prefer a painted finish, apply a paint primer, lightly sand with very fine sandpaper, and apply two or more coats of trim enamel.’
    • ‘She started with a base coat, then applied one coat of silver enamel.’
    • ‘Prime the wall with a low luster latex enamel paint and allow it to dry completely before the next step.’
    • ‘For the early experiments in the series reported here a latex enamel paint solution was used to colour the vessels.’
    • ‘Paint each plate rail with primer and two coats of white enamel.’
  • 4 dated Nail varnish.

    ‘Light pink nail enamel will make the hands even more charming.’
    • ‘The cell suspension was put into it and the open edges were completely sealed with nail enamel.’
    • ‘The colour selected for nail enamel should usually accord to the colour of your lipstick or attire.’
    lacquer, lac, shellac, japan, enamel, glaze, polish, oil, resin, wax

verbverb enamels, verb enamelling, verb enamelled; US verb enameling, US verb enameled

[with object]
  • 1Coat or decorate (a metallic or hard object) with enamel.

    ‘he enamelled the back of the case in the rococo style’
    • ‘Mothers or older sisters will love the pretty enamelled jewellery from Les Nereides.’
    • ‘Templar links to the local area have been found at the Old Church in Maghera where a bronze enamelled plaque was found in the graveyard.’
    • ‘I make enamelled jewellery and run the shop from which it is sold.’
    • ‘Ordinary steel is a fairly good conductor of heat, and enamelled steel pans will cook evenly if the base is thick.’
    • ‘His iron spear was enamelled, most unusually, in a Celtic style, and he was buried with a hanging bowl also in Celtic style.’
    • ‘Drop them into a stainless steel or enamelled cast-iron pan and add the sugar and water.’
    • ‘In 1961 a large 750 kw porcelain enamelling furnace and plant were installed - amongst the first in New Zealand.’
    • ‘The crown is heavily enameled anteriorly, and the apex is broad and smoothly rounded.’
    • ‘Hot and cold running water leads to a newly enameled green tub set on a thick stone slab.’
    • ‘The copper bottle with the design of a European lady on each side is a masterpiece of Chinese enamelled art.’
    • ‘Egyptian pharaohs wore enameled jewelry, and the process was used to decorate metallic objects with color throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Western Europe.’
    • ‘Armoury was also enamelled in the Deccani style.’
    • ‘The buyer bought the diamond and blue enamelled brooch, in the shape of a key, as a surprise Christmas present for his wife.’
    • ‘The egg is enamelled in cobalt blue on a shell of guilloche (elaborately patterned) sterling silver.’
    • ‘It's as tiny as a butter bean and individuals appear to have been exquisitely enamelled by different artists.’
    • ‘My teeth have always been creamy, so they need to be enamelled, but other than that I'm in good shape.’
    • ‘The frame is studded with eight table-cut diamonds, and the back is enamelled with a black trophy of arms.’
    • ‘The scabbard was decorated with patterns much similar to that of the hilt, and was enameled in a smooth glaze.’
    • ‘With no porcelain blanks to decorate, enameling in Canton was also interrupted for roughly a decade.’
    • ‘These are ground to powder and applied on the object to be enamelled.’
    varnish, lacquer, veneer, coat, stain, wax, shellac, enamel, put a finish on, glaze, give a shine to, gloss, polish, burnish, smooth off
    1. 1.1 dated Apply nail polish to (fingernails or toenails).
      ‘Nor, as he had before thankfully observed, did her ladyship enamel her nails to the likeness of blood-stained talons.’
      • ‘She'd asked her mother if she could enamel her nails too but she'd said to wait until she was older.’
      • ‘Women no longer tried to look boyish, but emphasized their difference from men by using cosmetics and enamelling their nails.’
      • ‘She had enamelled her toenails silver to match her fingernails.’


Late Middle English (originally as a verb; formerly also as inamel): from Anglo-Norman French enamailler, from en- ‘in, on’ + amail ‘enamel’, ultimately of Germanic origin.