[ kairn ]
/ kɛərn /


a heap of stones set up as a landmark, monument, tombstone, etc.

Nearby words

  1. cainotophobia,
  2. cainozoic,
  3. caird,
  4. caird coast,
  5. cairene,
  6. cairn terrier,
  7. cairngorm,
  8. cairngorm mountains,
  9. cairngorms,
  10. cairns

Also carn.

Origin of cairn

1525–35; earlier carn < Scots Gaelic: pile of stones; perhaps akin to horn

Related formscairned, adjectivecairn·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cairn

British Dictionary definitions for cairn


/ (kɛən) /


a mound of stones erected as a memorial or marker
Also called: cairn terrier a small rough-haired breed of terrier originally from Scotland

Word Origin for cairn

C15: from Gaelic carn

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

Word Origin and History for cairn



1530s, from Scottish carne, from Gaelic carn "heap of stones, rocky hill," akin to Gaulish karnon "horn," from PIE root *ker-n- "highest part of the body, horn," thus "tip, peak" (see horn (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper