\ ˈklan \

Definition of clan

1a : a Celtic group especially in the Scottish Highlands comprising a number of households whose heads claim descent from a common ancestor the MacDonald clan
b : a group of people tracing descent from a common ancestor : family The whole clan gets together for the holidays.
2 : a group united by a common interest or common characteristics the country club clan

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Examples of clan in a Sentence

The tribe is divided into clans. The whole clan gets together for the holidays.

Recent Examples on the Web

The Front is less prominent in Sulu than elsewhere, reflecting complex clan and ethnic rivalries in the Muslim region. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Philippine Terror Attack Kills at Least 20, Threatens Peace Hopes For Muslim Self-Rule," 27 Jan. 2019 Here’s a look at the history of this ancient English castle where the Queen and her extended clan plan to spend the holidays. Chanel Vargas, Town & Country, "Inside Queen Elizabeth II's Private Home at Sandringham Castle," 13 Dec. 2018 But still, no one quite did Halloween like the Kardashian clan. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Best Celebrity Halloween Makeup on Instagram," 1 Nov. 2018 These days, the boho clan comes for the art, including the obligatory pilgrimage to Judd's Chinati Foundation, and is summarily awed by the setting. Rima Suqi, ELLE Decor, "How an Abandoned Texas Home Is Restored Into an Ethereal Country Getaway," 20 Sep. 2018 Created by veteran sitcom writer Tim Doyle — who’s worked on the likes of Ellen, Sports Night, The Big Bang Theory, and Better Off Ted — the show is set in early 1970s suburban Los Angeles, where Doyle grew up with his own massive Catholic clan. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The 20 best TV series of 2018," 12 Dec. 2018 Establish your culture, your clan, in a city that has room for you, where your investment will be meaningful and beneficial to the city and won’t be met with hundreds of thousands of people saying ew, gross. Lisa Selin Davis, Curbed, "Amazon’s New York City move is bad for the city—and for Amazon’s employees," 20 Nov. 2018 Jonas and his clan are reportedly flying out to India to meet Chopra's family, a source told People. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Priyanka Chopra Just Revealed Her Engagement Ring and It's Gorgeous," 15 Aug. 2018 However, William and Kate did spend the holidays with them in 2016 instead of with the rest of the royal clan. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Doria Ragland Reportedly Won't Spend Christmas with the Royal Family," 18 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clan

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for clan

Middle English, from Scottish Gaelic clann offspring, clan, from Old Irish cland plant, offspring, from Latin planta plant

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Statistics for clan

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for clan

The first known use of clan was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for clan



English Language Learners Definition of clan

: a large group of people who are related
informal : a large family
informal : a group of people who are similar or who are interested in the same thing


\ ˈklan \

Kids Definition of clan

1 : a group (as in the Scottish Highlands) made up of households whose heads claim to have a common ancestor
2 : a large family

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More from Merriam-Webster on clan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clan

Spanish Central: Translation of clan

Nglish: Translation of clan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clan for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about clan

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