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[ih-nam-uh l] /ɪˈnæm əl/
a glassy substance, usually opaque, applied by fusion to the surface of metal, pottery, etc., as an ornament or for protection.
any of various varnishes, paints, coatings, etc., drying to a hard, glossy finish.
any enamellike surface with a bright luster.
an artistic work executed in enamel.
Dentistry. the hard, glossy, calcareous covering of the crown of a tooth, containing only a slight amount of organic substance.
verb (used with object), enameled, enameling or (especially British) enamelled, enamelling.
to inlay or overlay with enamel.
to form an enamellike surface upon:
to enamel cardboard.
to decorate as with enamel; variegate with colors.
Origin of enamel
1275-1325; Middle English enamelen < Anglo-French enameler, enamailler, equivalent to en- en-1 + -amaler, derivative of asmal, esmal enamel, Old French esmail (-al taken as the suffix -ail) < Old Low Franconian *smalt- something melted, cognate with German Schmalz fat; akin to smelt1; cf. smalto
Related forms
enameler; especially British, enameller, noun
enamelist; especially British, enamellist, noun
enamelwork, noun
unenameled, adjective
unenamelled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for enamel
  • Then, have them form river channels and coat with blue enamel paint and color the land with tempera paint.
  • It strengthens the protective enamel of teeth, but only while the teeth are developing in the jaws.
  • Oh, and it too is available in bright and cheery colors, with enamel coatings available from some makers.
  • Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria that line the teeth feed on simple sugars, creating acid that destroys enamel.
  • The marks were cut deep into the enamel and occurred often in pairs or triplets.
  • Many of his brother's teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.
  • Put crayons of the same color in a small saucepan or enamel cooking pot.
  • The excess fluoride can cause mottling of the enamel of their permanent teeth.
  • Her father is a retired architectural porcelain enamel manufacturer.
  • enamel fluorosis occurs only when teeth are exposed to too much fluoride while they are developing under the gums.
British Dictionary definitions for enamel


a coloured glassy substance, translucent or opaque, fused to the surface of articles made of metal, glass, etc, for ornament or protection
an article or articles ornamented with enamel
an enamel-like paint or varnish
any smooth glossy coating resembling enamel
another word for nail polish
the hard white calcified substance that covers the crown of each tooth
  1. decorated or covered with enamel: an enamel ring
  2. made with enamel: enamel paste
verb (transitive) -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to inlay, coat, or otherwise decorate with enamel
to ornament with glossy variegated colours, as if with enamel
to portray in enamel
Derived Forms
enameller, enamellist, (US) enameler, enamelist, noun
enamelwork, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French esmail, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German smalz lard; see smelt1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for enamel

early 14c., from Anglo-French enamailler (early 14c.), from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + amailler "to enamel," variant of Old French esmailler, from esmal "enamel," from Frankish *smalt, from Proto-Germanic *smaltjan "to smelt" (see smelt (v.)). Related: Enameled; enameling.


early 15c., from enamel (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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enamel in Medicine

enamel e·nam·el (ĭ-nām'əl)
The hard, calcareous substance covering the exposed portion of a tooth.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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enamel in Science
The hard, translucent substance covering the exposed portion of a tooth in mammals. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body, and consists mostly of calcium salts.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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enamel in Culture

enamel definition

The hard, white substance that covers the crown of a tooth.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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