noun \ˈtär-tən\

: a traditional Scottish cloth pattern of stripes in different colors and widths that cross each other to form squares

: fabric with a tartan pattern

Full Definition of TARTAN

:  a plaid textile design of Scottish origin consisting of stripes of varying width and color usually patterned to designate a distinctive clan
a :  a twilled woolen fabric with tartan design
b :  a fabric with tartan design
:  a garment of tartan design

Examples of TARTAN

  1. a kilt in the clan's tartan

Origin of TARTAN

perhaps from Middle French tiretaine linsey-woolsey
First Known Use: circa 1500

Rhymes with TARTAN


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Royal Stuart (Stewart) tartan.—The Scottish Tartans Society/Museum

Cross-checkered repeating pattern (or “sett”) of bands, stripes, or lines of various colours and of definite width and sequence, woven into woolen cloth, sometimes with silk added. Such patterns have existed for centuries in many cultures but have come to be regarded as fundamentally Scottish and as a quasi-heraldic Scottish family or clan emblem. Though claims of great antiquity have been made for Scottish tartans, few seem to predate the 17th or even 18th century as clan emblems. The Scottish Tartans Society (founded 1963) maintains a register of all known tartans, numbering about 1,300.


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