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clan

[klan] /klæn/
noun
1.
a group of families or households, as among the Scottish Highlanders, the heads of which claim descent from a common ancestor:
the Mackenzie clan.
2.
a group of people of common descent; family:
Our whole clan got together for Thanksgiving.
3.
a group of people, as a clique, set, society, or party, especially as united by some common trait, characteristic, or interest:
a clan of actors and directors.
4.
Anthropology.
  1. the principal social unit of tribal organization, in which descent is reckoned exclusively in either the paternal or the maternal line.
  2. a group of people regarded as being descended from a common ancestor.
Origin of clan
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English (Scots) < Scots Gaelic clann < Old Irish cland offspring < Latin planta scion, plant, perhaps directly < British Celtic; compare Welsh plant children
Related forms
clanless, adjective
interclan, adjective
subclan, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for clan
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was the chieftain of a clan that spread over Down and Antrim.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • It was like being the head of a clan, the General told himself, and he liked it.

    The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys Gulielma Zollinger
  • Kautsky says that in primitive man the child belongs to the clan; but this is an error.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • In the anthropoid ape we already find the family, but not the clan.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • At no period of human existence has family life been replaced by clan life.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
British Dictionary definitions for clan

clan

/klæn/
noun
1.
a group of people interrelated by ancestry or marriage
2.
a group of families with a common surname and a common ancestor, acknowledging the same leader, esp among the Scots and the Irish
3.
a group of people united by common characteristics, aims, or interests
Word Origin
C14: from Scottish Gaelic clann family, descendants, from Latin planta sprout, plant1
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 clan
n.

early 15c., from Gaelic clann "family, stock, offspring," akin to Old Irish cland "offspring, tribe," both from Latin planta "offshoot" (see plant (n.)). The Goidelic branch of Celtic (including Gaelic) had no initial p-, so it substituted k- or c- for Latin p-. The same Latin word in (non-Goidelic) Middle Welsh became plant "children."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Nearby words for clan

Word Value for clan

6
9
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