THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Origin of cairn
OTHER WORDS FROM cairncairned, adjectivecairny, adjective
Words nearby cairn
What does cairn mean?
A cairn is a pile of stones set up as a marker, monument, or memorial of some kind.
Cairns are sometimes used to mark points along hiking trails. This usually takes the form of a small pile of rocks or several stones stacked on top of each other.
The word cairn is also used in the context of archaeology, in which it usually refers to a large pile of stones that marks some kind of significant site, often a burial site. Such cairns were sometimes used in areas with rocky soil not suitable for traditional burial.
Example: The cairn at the summit of the trail has continued to grow as hikers have added rocks to it.
Where does cairn come from?
The first records of the word cairn come from around the 1530s. It comes from the Scots Gaelic word carn, meaning “pile of stones.”
Much less commonly, cairn can be used as a verb meaning to mark with cairns. A trail that is marked with cairns may be described with the adjective cairned, but this is also uncommon.
The word cairn is also found in the name of the cairn terrier, a breed of dog originally from Scotland, where it was bred to hunt animals by driving them out of their holes or burrows. Its name is thought to come from the fact that such dogs were often found in places with a lot of cairns—like the rocky terrain of the Scottish Highlands.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to cairn?
- carn (less common alternate spelling)
- cairned (adjective)
- cairny (adjective)
What are some words that share a root or word element with cairn?
What are some words that often get used in discussing cairn?
How is cairn used in real life?
Cairn is typically used in the context of hiking or archaeology.
The Cairn from yesterday at Backbone Rock . pic.twitter.com/73hiE8AAbw
— Pam Combs (@PamCombs13) October 1, 2020
Building cairns is a little like leaving a breadcrumb trail, only occasionally some joker will just leave their own crumb trail going nowhere so they can gram a B&W photo and caption it like "the world is our canvas #crumbtrail #mindful #art" https://t.co/GX4XAt04m0
— (((Adam Roy))) (@adnroy) August 14, 2018
Ashleypark burial cairn, Ardcroney, Co. Tipperary.
Archaeological Inventory of Tipperary, Vol. I, North Tipperary
Jean Farrelly & Caimin O'Brien
Dublin, 2002 pic.twitter.com/D1z3uCpevv
— Tipperary Studies (@TippStudies) November 1, 2017
Try using cairn!
True or False?
A cairn is a pile of sticks or twigs.
Example sentences from the Web for cairn
In your exhilaration, you grab a stone and drop it on the nearest cairn as if to say, I was here!
On his left hand and behind him lay the rich belt of woodland that marked the courses of the rivers Cluden and Cairn.Hunted and Harried|R.M. Ballantyne
His Grace sent Castalia a beautiful wedding present: a cairn-gorm, set in solid silver.A Charming Fellow, Volume II (of 3)|Frances Eleanor Trollope
And now, behold, I break open the piled stones of your cairn, and I let in the noon between your ribs.The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume XXI|Robert Louis Stevenson