- (formerly) a freebooter or marauder of the Scottish Highlands.
Origin of cateran
1325–75; < Medieval Latin caterānus, Latinized form of Middle English (Scots) catherein < Scots Gaelic ceatharn; see kern1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cateran
They will have no black-mail to pay, either to Master Nevis or to any other cateran who is in the habit of levying it on the road.John Deane of Nottingham
We hae hangit a Highland cateran without trial afore this, and we may be tempted to tak the law into our ain hands again.The Lancashire Witches
William Harrison Ainsworth
I would give them as short a shrift as ever a Highland cateran got from a Glasgow judge.The Mystery of Cloomber
Arthur Conan Doyle
This missing youth turns out to be identical with the cateran of Drumshorlan.
No longer was he hunted by the cateran chief—no more were his lands devastated, or his cattle carried off.
- (formerly) a member of a band of brigands and marauders in the Scottish highlands
C14: probably from Scottish Gaelic ceathairneach robber, plunderer
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