\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

Thompson, who turns 27 on Tuesday, celebrated with (most of) the Kardashian-Jenner clan—including Kourtney, Kendall, Kylie, and Kris. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Khloé Kardashian Threw a Birthday Party for Tristan Thompson Right After Her Baby Shower," 12 Mar. 2018 The 50-member clan, whose last name was Verí, decided fishing was their best opportunity. David Farley, WSJ, "Where to Feast on Italy’s Freshest Seafood? These Historic Piers," 10 July 2018 The 18-person Ziegler clan, clad in their own custom shirts, escaped the 95-degree heat of Wisconsin to cheer on Caleb, who’s competing in bowling. Evan Webeck, The Seattle Times, "A little rain gives Special Olympics USA Games’ opening ceremony a Pacific Northwest feel," 1 July 2018 The Kennedy family is about to add another member to the clan. Kevin Slane,, "Robert Kennedy III will marry a former CIA officer at the family compound next month," 28 June 2018 The impulse to belong to a clan is deeply human, however, and new tribes continue to form, organized not around ancestry but along fuzzier lines of ideology or demography. Laila Lalami, New York Times, "Does American ‘Tribalism’ End in a Compromise, or a Fight?," 26 June 2018 The top candidates are state Treasurer Walker Stapleton (a cousin to Bush 41 and Bush 43) and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, who has attacked Stapleton for his ties to the Bush clan. 5. Chuck Todd, NBC News, "Here are seven storylines to watch in today's primaries and runoffs," 26 June 2018 Sources close to the Kardashian clan say that True's last name was never even up for debate. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Why Khloé Kardashian Gave Her Daughter True Tristan Thompson’s Last Name," 17 Apr. 2018 Speaking of sticking it in peoples' eyes, the Libby pardon also functions as a middle finger to the Bush clan. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "5 reasons that perfectly explain why Donald Trump pardoned Scooter Libby," 13 Apr. 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

7 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for clan

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

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English Language Learners Definition of clan

: a large group of people who are related

: a large family

: 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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Comments on clan

What made you want to look up clan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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