(chiefly of horses) of the color sorrel, chestnut, or bay, sprinkled with gray or white.
prepared from leather of this color.


a horse or other animal with a roan coat.
a roan color.
a soft, flexible sheepskin leather, used in bookbinding, often made to imitate morocco.

Origin of roan

1520–30; < Middle French < Old Spanish roano < Germanic; compare Gothic rauths red Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for roan


Examples from the Web for roan

Historical Examples of roan

  • Have them saddle the roan for me, and they may take the chestnut pair and lead Firefly.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • He would give the roan a flick, and his sulky would flash by.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • There's a big five-year-old roan around here that will be safe as a church for you.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "You are very good, madam," said Mr. Wilding, and he bowed to the withers of his roan.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Sile's horse was a roan, and looked like a fast one under a light weight like his.

    Two Arrows

    William O. Stoddard

British Dictionary definitions for roan



(of a horse) having a bay (red roan), chestnut (strawberry roan), or black (blue roan) coat sprinkled with white hairs


a horse having such a coat
a soft unsplit sheepskin leather with a close tough grain, used in bookbinding, etc

Word Origin for roan

C16: from Old French, from Spanish roano, probably from Gothic rauths red
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 roan

1520s, from Middle French roan "reddish brown," perhaps from Spanish roano, from Old Spanish raudano, probably from a Germanic source (cf. Gothic raudan, accusative of rauðs "red"). Chiefly of horses.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper