Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Tin-glazed earthenware that is often richly colored and decorated, especially an earthenware of this type produced in Italy.
  • n. Pottery made in imitation of this earthenware.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fine Italian glazed earthenware, coated with opaque white enamel and ornamented with metallic colours
  • n. Any other kind of glazed coloured earthenware or faience

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of pottery, with opaque glazing and showy decoration, which reached its greatest perfection in Italy in the 16th century.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Decorative enameled pottery, especially that of Italy from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century.
  • n. As applied to modern pottery, a kind of ware which in effects of color partly imitates the pottery above defined, especially in large pieces used for architectural decoration, garden-seats, vases, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. highly decorated earthenware with a glaze of tin oxide

Etymologies

Italian maiolica, from Medieval Latin Māiōlica, Majorca (where it was made), alteration of Late Latin Māiōrica.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Majolica is an Anglicized version of the Italian maiolica. It is named after the Island of Majorca (formerly known as Maiolica), which once was a commerce center for work produced in Valencia, Spain. (Wiktionary)

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  • "A typical late-nineteenth-century sideboard would also have displayed cut glass, examples of hand-painted French or German porcelain, 'antique' German or Italian glass, a German beer stein, a brass samovar, or a decorative piece of pottery—possibly Delft or majolica."
    —Susan Williams, Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts: Dining in Victorian America (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), 68

    April 13, 2010