\ ˈklan How to pronounce clan (audio) \

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

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 One of the few senior Taliban members from the same aristocratic Popolzai clan as Mr. Karzai, Mr. Baradar was captured by Pakistani and U.S. agents in Karachi later that year, and kept in Pakistani custody since. Jessica Donati, WSJ, 24 Dec. 2021 Most everyone Henderson knew had a link to the Arbery clan, whose ties to coastal Georgia stretch back generations. Margaret Coker, Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2021 Known as Australia's pioneering Indigenous actor, Gulpilil hailed from the Mandhalpingu clan of the Yolŋu people and grew up in Northern Australia. Andrea Towers,, 29 Nov. 2021 Similar to Michael Corleone in The Godfather, the quiet Maurizio would rather defect from the Gucci clan’s incessant squabbling and calibrated mythification. Robert Daniels, Vulture, 26 Nov. 2021 The winery’s name is a tip of the Balmoral bonnet to Paul’s familial clan in Scotland. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 24 Nov. 2021 The dispute dragged on for a year as State Department leaders appealed to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who comes from then same clan, to take action against General Turyare. New York Times, 24 Oct. 2021 The New Celeb Ecowarriors From the Pinkett Smith clan comes Hey Humans, a new personal-care brand at Target that aims to make planet-friendly vegan products accessible to all. Jeffrey Westbrook, Marie Claire, 1 Apr. 2021 But as heartwarming as this is, the Continent offers a much broader canvas than this odd little clan at Kaer Morhen. Scott Meslow, Vulture, 19 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for clan

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near clan

clam worm



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Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Clan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for clan



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 How to pronounce clan (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on clan

Nglish: Translation of clan for Spanish Speakers

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


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