Definition of cairn in English:

cairn

Syllabification: cairn
Pronunciation: /ke(ə)rn
 
/

noun

  • 1A mound of rough stones built as a memorial or landmark, typically on a hilltop or skyline.
    More example sentences
    • Elation was to glimpse limp prayer flags and rough cairns with goat horns that marked the pass.
    • Now, their pyramid-shaped middens, or mussel-shell dumps, stand along the coastline like memorial cairns.
    • Twelve stone cairns decorate the otherwise bare summit of Castle Dow, a tree - clad hill which lies in the clench of the River Tay just south of Grandtully.
  • 1.1A prehistoric burial mound made of stones.
    More example sentences
    • Skara Brae is a well-preserved prehistoric village, Maes Howe the best of a series of impressive prehistoric burial cairns, and numerous brochs and settlements attest to the islands' Pictish and Viking periods.
    • Caithness is well known to archaeologists for its Neolithic chambered burial cairns.
    • South of the fort is a cross-ridge dyke, and in the area traversed by the path there are burial cairns and prehistoric field boundaries.
  • 2 (also cairn terrier) A small terrier of a breed with short legs, a longish body, and a shaggy coat.
    [perhaps so named from being used to hunt among cairns]
    More example sentences
    • If the German Shepherd and Doberman stood on top in their numbers, the breeds like the wire-haired fox terrier, smooth-haired fox terrier, cairn terrier and Rhodesian Ridgeback were all loners.
    • We had an awesome cairn terrier / Jack Russell mix that was preternaturally intelligent, capable of stunning tricks (including climbing trees), but he wouldn't fetch a stick for any reward.
    • Much of the known early history of the cairn terrier, like that of the Skye terrier, centers on the island of Skye.

Origin

late Middle English: from Scottish Gaelic carn.

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