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"china clay," 1727, from French kaolin (1712), from Chinese Kao-ling, old-style transliteration of the name of a mountain in Jiangxi, China (near which it was originally dug up), from Chinese gao "high" + ling "mountain, hill."
kaolin ka·o·lin (kā'ə-lĭn)
A fine white clay that, when powdered, is used as a demulcent and adsorbent and, in dentistry, as an agent that confers opacity and toughness to porcelain teeth.
soft white clay that is an essential ingredient in the manufacture of china and porcelain and is widely used in the making of paper, rubber, paint, and many other products. Kaolin is named after the hill in China (Kao-ling) from which it was mined for centuries. Samples of kaolin were first sent to Europe by a French Jesuit missionary around 1700 as examples of the materials used by the Chinese in the manufacture of porcelain.