: a Celtic group especially in the Scottish Highlands comprising a number of households whose heads claim descent from a common ancestor
the MacDonald clan
: a group of people tracing descent from a common ancestor : family
The whole clan gets together for the holidays.
: 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 Length: 6 seasons, 121 episodes Watch it on: Hulu Bridgerton Speaking of melodrama: the Bridgerton clan needs no introduction. John Ortved, Vogue, 29 June 2024 Whatever the outcome of this legal dispute may be, one thing’s clear: there’s no love lost between the two factions of the Rivera clan. Fidel Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2024 As he, Chippy, and the entire clan welcome Vegas home, they are disheartened by Junior leaving the family. Okla Jones, Essence, 27 June 2024 Season 5 returns to a civil war between LC Duncan (Hudson) and clan and their biggest enemy to date—one of his own sons. Bruce Haring, Deadline, 27 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for clan 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near clan

Cite this Entry

“Clan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a group (as in the Scottish Highlands) made up of households whose heads claim to have a common ancestor
: a group of people having a common ancestor : family
: a group of persons united by a common interest
the whole clan of actors

More from Merriam-Webster on clan

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