Definition of enamel in English:



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’
    as modifier ‘white enamel bowls’
    count noun ‘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’
    count noun ‘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.’
  • 4dated 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

verbenamels, enamelling, enamelled; US enameling, enameled

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

    ‘an enamelled roasting tin’
    • ‘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. 1.1dated 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.