Definition of clan in English:


Line breaks: clan
Pronunciation: /klan


1A close-knit group of interrelated families, especially in the Scottish Highlands: the clan Macleod civil strife has followed as rival clans jockey for power
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.
1.1A large family: the Watts clan is one of racing’s oldest families
More example sentences
  • Each clan has its own little internal idiosyncrasies.
  • The company is owned by the extended Whitaker family, descended from the Johnson and Perrott clans that gave the business its name in 1910.
  • At least it has a classic story line - the offspring of two feuding clans falling in love and taking on the world together.
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'.



More example sentences
  • A strong sense of clanship pervaded these villages, making men from other clans feel like interlopers.
  • Especially in the province of Moray, there were also feudal groups which adopted clanship.
  • But correspondences quickly show through this prose-verse narrative, and the highest ideals of medieval European clanship are exploited in the story to reveal pulp fiction lives familiar as our own.

Definition of clan in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day animalcule
Pronunciation: ˌanɪˈmalkjuːl
a microscopic animal