- a seaport in NE Australia.
- a heap of stones set up as a landmark, monument, tombstone, etc.
Origin of cairn
1525–35; earlier carn < Scots Gaelic: pile of stones; perhaps akin to horn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cairns
There was not a trace of houses, or huts, or cairns visible.The Field of Ice
The doctor kept a sharp lookout for other cairns, but in vain.
Posted all along the platform with General Cairns in the most prominent place.Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore
The doctor looked carefully round for other cairns, but in vain.The English at the North Pole
By what name we call them, “towers,” or “cairns,” is indifferent to me.The Clyde Mystery
- a port in NE Australia, in Queensland. Pop: 98 981 (2001)
- a mound of stones erected as a memorial or marker
- Also called: cairn terrier a small rough-haired breed of terrier originally from Scotland
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 cairns
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