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[tahr-tn] /ˈtɑr tn/
a woolen or worsted cloth woven with stripes of different colors and widths crossing at right angles, worn chiefly by the Scottish Highlanders, each clan having its own distinctive plaid.
a design of such a plaid known by the name of the clan wearing it.
any plaid.
of, relating to, or resembling tartan.
made of tartan.
Origin of tartan
1490-1500; variant of tertane < Middle French tertaine (Old French tiretaine) linsey-woolsey Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for tartan


  1. a design of straight lines, crossing at right angles to give a chequered appearance, esp the distinctive design or designs associated with each Scottish clan: the Buchanan tartan
  2. (as modifier): a tartan kilt
a woollen fabric or garment with this design
the tartan, Highland dress
Derived Forms
tartaned, adjective
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Old French tertaine linsey-woolsey, from Old Spanish tiritaña a fine silk fabric, from tiritar to rustle


a single-masted vessel used in the Mediterranean, usually with a lateen sail
Word Origin
C17: from French, perhaps from Provençal tartana falcon, buzzard, since a ship was frequently given the name of a bird
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 tartan

mid-15c., perhaps from Middle French tiretaine "strong, coarse fabric" (mid-13c.), from Old French tiret "kind of cloth," from tire "silk cloth," from Medieval Latin tyrius "cloth from Tyre." If this is the source, spelling likely influenced in Middle English by tartaryn "rich silk cloth" (mid-14c.), from Old French tartarin "Tartar cloth," from Tartare "Tartar," the Central Asian people (see Tartar).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tartan in Technology

A simple language proposed to meet the Ironman requirements.
["TARTAN - Language Design for the Ironman Requirements: Reference Manual", Mary Shaw et al, SIGPLAN Notices 13(9):36-58 (Sep 1978)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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tartan in the Bible

an Assyrian word, meaning "the commander-in-chief." (1.) One of Sennacherib's messengers to Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:17). (2.) One of Sargon's generals (Isa. 20:1).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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