• synonyms


[kat-er-uh n]
  1. (formerly) a freebooter or marauder of the Scottish Highlands.
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Origin of cateran

1325–75; < Medieval Latin caterānus, Latinized form of Middle English (Scots) catherein < Scots Gaelic ceatharn; see kern1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cateran

Historical Examples

  • They will have no black-mail to pay, either to Master Nevis or to any other cateran who is in the habit of levying it on the road.

    John Deane of Nottingham

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • We hae hangit a Highland cateran without trial afore this, and we may be tempted to tak the law into our ain hands again.

    The Lancashire Witches

    William Harrison Ainsworth

  • I would give them as short a shrift as ever a Highland cateran got from a Glasgow judge.

    The Mystery of Cloomber

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • This missing youth turns out to be identical with the cateran of Drumshorlan.

  • No longer was he hunted by the cateran chief—no more were his lands devastated, or his cattle carried off.

British Dictionary definitions for cateran


  1. (formerly) a member of a band of brigands and marauders in the Scottish highlands
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Word Origin

C14: probably from Scottish Gaelic ceathairneach robber, plunderer
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