enamel

\ \ [14] The underlying meaning element in enamel is ‘melting’. It comes ultimately from a prehistoric Germanic base *smalt- (source of English schmaltzsentimentality’ [20], borrowed via Yiddish from German schmalzfat, dripping’), and related Germanic forms produced English smelt, melt, and malt. Old French acquired the Germanic word and turned it into esmauz; this in turn was re-formed to esmail, and Anglo-Norman adopted it as amail.
\ \ This formed the basis, with the prefix en- ‘in’, of a verb enamaillerdecorate with enamel’.
\ \ English borrowed it, and by the mid-15th century it was being used as a noun for the substance itself (the noun amel, a direct borrowing from Anglo-Norman, had in fact been used in this sense since the 14th century, and it did not finally die out until the 18th century). Its application to the substance covering teeth dates from the early 18th century.
\ \ Cf.MALT, MELT, SCHMALTZ, SMELT

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Enamel — may refer to * Tooth enamel, the hard mineralized surface of teeth; * Vitreous enamel, a smooth, durable coating made of melted and fused glass powder; * Enamel paint, a paint that dries to an especially hard glossy finish, resembling vitreous… …   Wikipedia

  • Enamel — En*am el, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Enameled}or {Enamelled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Enameling} or {Enamelling}.] 1. To lay enamel upon; to decorate with enamel whether inlaid or painted. [1913 Webster] 2. To variegate with colors as if with enamel. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • enamel — [e nam′əl, inam′əl] n. [ME < the v.] 1. a glassy, colored, opaque substance fused to surfaces of metals, glass, and pottery as an ornamental or protective coating 2. any smooth, hard, glossy coating or surface like enamel 3. the hard, white,… …   English World dictionary

  • Enamel — En*am el, n. [Pref. en + amel. See {Amel}, {Smelt}, v. t.] 1. A variety of glass, used in ornament, to cover a surface, as of metal or pottery, and admitting of after decoration in color, or used itself for inlaying or application in varied… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • enamel — (v.) early 14c., from Anglo Fr. enamailler (early 14c.), from en in (see EN (Cf. en ) (1)) + amailler to enamel, variant of O.Fr. esmailler, from esmal enamel, from Frank. *smalt, from P.Gmc. *smaltjan to smelt (see SMELT …   Etymology dictionary

  • enamel — ► NOUN 1) a coloured opaque glassy substance applied to metal, glass, or pottery for decorative or protective purposes. 2) the hard glossy substance that covers the crown of a tooth. 3) a paint that dries to give a smooth, hard coat. ► VERB… …   English terms dictionary

  • Enamel — En*am el, a. Relating to the art of enameling; as, enamel painting. Tomlinson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Enamel — En*am el, v. i. To practice the art of enameling. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • enamel — has the forms enamelled, enamelling in BrE and enameled, enameling in AmE …   Modern English usage

  • enamel — [n] paint, often shiny cloisonné, coating, finish, glaze, gloss, japan, lacquer, polish, stain, topcoat, varnish, veneer; concepts 259,260,467 …   New thesaurus

  • enamel — enameler; esp. Brit., enameller, n. enamelist; esp. Brit., enamellist, n. enamelwork, n. /i nam euhl/, n., v., enameled, enameling or (esp. Brit.) enamelled, enamelling. n …   Universalium

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