tar·​tan ˈtär-tᵊn How to pronounce tartan (audio)
: a plaid textile design of Scottish origin consisting of stripes of varying width and color usually patterned to designate a distinctive clan
: a twilled woolen fabric with tartan design
: a fabric with tartan design
: a garment of tartan design

Examples of tartan in a Sentence

a kilt in the clan's tartan
Recent Examples on the Web Made to order in more than 1,000 tartans with delivery across the world. Ross Kenneth Urken, Condé Nast Traveler, 17 Nov. 2023 The tartan blanket with fringe ends brings softness to a space thrown over the back of a chair, in a blanket basket, or on the couch. Gabriela Izquierdo, Southern Living, 28 Feb. 2024 Among the oddities noted by British media were an apparent misalignment of the queen’s tartan skirt and signs that Prince Louis may have been moved farther back. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2024 To finish out the look, Smith wore a green tartan headpiece and walked with a large stick. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 4 Mar. 2024 Get the tartan throw in a variety of colors for just $32. Gabriela Izquierdo, Southern Living, 28 Feb. 2024 Rich and delicate and complex aromas of red and black cherries and tartan biscuits, mocha and tar. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 25 Feb. 2024 Early tartans got their vibrant hues from natural dyes that came from trees, plants, roots, berries and other materials. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Jan. 2024 That is apparent right at check-in, when guests are greeted by staffers wearing the bespoke Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh tartan. Catherine Garcia, theweek, 13 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


perhaps from Middle French tiretaine linsey-woolsey

First Known Use

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tartan was circa 1500

Dictionary Entries Near tartan

Cite this Entry

“Tartan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tartan. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


tar·​tan ˈtärt-ᵊn How to pronounce tartan (audio)
: a plaid textile design of Scottish origin
: a fabric or garment with tartan design

More from Merriam-Webster on tartan

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