Definition of clan in English:


Syllabification: clan
Pronunciation: /klan


  • 1A group of close-knit and interrelated families (especially associated with families in the Scottish Highlands).
    More example sentences
    • Tartan ties, scarves and even a map of the Scottish clans filled the window of the shop.
    • Highland society in general, however, was organized into that most celebrated of Scottish institutions, the clan.
    • Let us go back in time where Scottish tartan denoted the clan you belonged too.
  • 1.1often • informal A family, especially a large one: the Kennedy clan gathered for the celebration
    More example sentences
    • The entire Wade clan was gathered there, including Devon, who was entertaining himself with the terrier.
    • Yet he has his own life, and it remains uncertain whether he will attend the next big Mortimer clan gathering in Long Island this Christmas.
    • So when the extended clan gathers for the twins' eightieth birthday it is a necessarily complex arrangement.
  • 1.2A group of people with a strong common interest: New York’s garrulous clan of artists
    More example sentences
    • Often it's a matter of conflicting interests with no resolution at a higher level than the interests - warring clans, greedy industries.
    • The clan gather at the pub at 8pm and new members are always made welcome.
    • Yes, Elinor is the eccentric one of our little clan.


late Middle English: from Scottish Gaelic clann 'offspring, family', from Old Irish cland, from Latin planta 'sprout'.

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