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clan

[klan]
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.
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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 clanless

Historical Examples of clanless

  • For only a clanless one would think of speaking other than the truth.

    The Best Made Plans

    Everett B. Cole

  • A little guy named Donald Michaels had been disguised as a clanless mat maker.

    The Best Made Plans

    Everett B. Cole


British Dictionary definitions for clanless

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
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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 clanless

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper