\ 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

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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 championship weekend was like a Comic-Con mixed with the Super Bowl - a whirlwind of casual-to-extreme fandom for this clan of fictional characters and the very real joy their inspire. Pokémon Co., "People are still obsessed with Pokémon and this is their Super Bowl," 20 Aug. 2019 Whole nomadic clans shifted their pastures deeper into the tundra, keeping their herds distant from any sign of the state. Bathsheba Demuth, The New Yorker, "When the Soviet Union Freed the Arctic from Capitalist Slavery," 15 Aug. 2019 Her husband, Kevin Jonas, shared a large group shot of the whole Jonas brother-and-spouse clan to celebrate. Vogue, "Nick Jonas Just Posted the Sweetest Instagram for Priyanka Chopra’s Birthday," 18 July 2019 The weight of this secret distorts Leila’s life, as other damaging secrets corrode the whole clan. The Economist, "Elif Shafak’s new novel is powerful and unflinching," 15 June 2019 Here's a look at the whole Kard clan pretty in pink. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "The Kardashians Match in Pink Outfits at the Over-the-Top Launch of Kylie's Skincare Line," 22 May 2019 Khloé Kardashian also took to Instagram to commemorate the father of her children’s special day and show that the whole Kardashian clan doesn’t hate him. Anna Millard,, "Sofia Richie & Scott Disick Celebrated His Birthday — Oh, & They’re Still Together," 27 May 2018 Presumably, that means Episode IX will be the final outing for not just for those who bear the surname like Luke, Leia and Kylo but also other characters who are (allegedly) not related to the Skywalker clan: Rey, Finn and Poe. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "What's Happening in the Star Wars Universe After Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker?," 24 Aug. 2019 Five distinct clans form the Land of the Dragon, but draogns are long gone and Kumandra has been invaded by a dark sinister force. Marc Snetiker,, "Raya and the Last Dragon," 24 Aug. 2019

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

12 Sep 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 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

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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

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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