clan

[klan]
See more synonyms for clan on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a group of families or households, as among the Scottish Highlanders, the heads of which claim descent from a common ancestor: the Mackenzie clan.
  2. a group of people of common descent; family: Our whole clan got together for Thanksgiving.
  3. a group of people, as a clique, set, society, or party, especially as united by some common trait, characteristic, or interest: a clan of actors and directors.
  4. Anthropology.
    1. the principal social unit of tribal organization, in which descent is reckoned exclusively in either the paternal or the maternal line.
    2. a group of people regarded as being descended from a common ancestor.

Origin of clan

1375–1425; late Middle English (Scots) < Scots Gaelic clann < Old Irish cland offspring < Latin planta scion, plant, perhaps directly < British Celtic; compare Welsh plant children
Related formsclan·less, adjectivein·ter·clan, adjectivesub·clan, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for clan

Contemporary Examples of clan

Historical Examples of clan

  • He was the chieftain of a clan that spread over Down and Antrim.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • It was like being the head of a clan, the General told himself, and he liked it.

  • Kautsky says that in primitive man the child belongs to the clan; but this is an error.

  • At no period of human existence has family life been replaced by clan life.

  • In the anthropoid ape we already find the family, but not the clan.


British Dictionary definitions for clan

clan

noun
  1. a group of people interrelated by ancestry or marriage
  2. a group of families with a common surname and a common ancestor, acknowledging the same leader, esp among the Scots and the Irish
  3. a group of people united by common characteristics, aims, or interests

Word Origin for clan

C14: from Scottish Gaelic clann family, descendants, from Latin planta sprout, plant 1
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 clan
n.

early 15c., from Gaelic clann "family, stock, offspring," akin to Old Irish cland "offspring, tribe," both from Latin planta "offshoot" (see plant (n.)). The Goidelic branch of Celtic (including Gaelic) had no initial p-, so it substituted k- or c- for Latin p-. The same Latin word in (non-Goidelic) Middle Welsh became plant "children."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper