tar·​tan | \ ˈtär-tᵊn How to pronounce tartan (audio) \

Definition of tartan

1 : a plaid textile design of Scottish origin consisting of stripes of varying width and color usually patterned to designate a distinctive clan
2a : a twilled woolen fabric with tartan design
b : a fabric with tartan design
3 : a garment of tartan design

Examples of tartan in a Sentence

a kilt in the clan's tartan

Recent Examples on the Web

Shutterstock Shutterstock Duchess of Cambridge/REX/ShutterstockShutterstock Charlotte's wearing the Betsy dress by Trotters and her tartan skirt is the Yarrow skirt by Amaia Kids. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Princess Charlotte's Fourth Birthday Photos Are Here, and She Looks Identical to the Queen," 1 May 2019 Williams, on the other hand, went edgy with a black combat boots, leggings, a black coat with tartan accents, thick glasses and a handle bag. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Serena Williams Reunite for Dinner in NYC," 20 Feb. 2019 The eclectic effect also extended to the styling of the clothes, which included preppy tartans, marigold sweaters, sweet floral georgette dresses, and some terrific leathers and shearlings in distressed textures or juicy colors. Cathy Horyn, The Cut, "Jacobs Fights the Bulls, Kors Goes for Showbiz," 15 Feb. 2018 Kate re-wore a black watch tartan coat dress by Alexander McQueen for the occasion and, as Harper's Bazaar swiftly pointed out, the Duchess paid tribute to Princess Diana with her choice of jewelry. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Wore Princess Diana's Sapphire Earrings in Scotland," 29 Jan. 2019 Aboah art-directed the images, which included shots around the city, plus a family portrait where everyone wore custom Burberry dresses and head wraps in the brand’s signature tartan. Diana Tsui, The Cut, "Burberry Took a Trip to Ghana With Model Adwoa Aboah," 2 May 2018 There’s something a little punk about the tartan schoolgirl skirt, while a strict coat trimmed with beads and feathers could easily go black tie. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Michelle Duncan Is Balancing Her Day Job at Estée Lauder With a New Project: Her Own Line of Dresses," 14 Feb. 2019 From elegant white coats to tartan prints and blush dresses, the duo has had some surprising twinning moments. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's West End Look Is Completely Different From Kate Middleton's," 29 Aug. 2018 Guys are buying flares, cuffed wide-legs, and every variety of printed pant, from tartan to florals. Emily Farra, Vogue, "10 Trends We Expect to See in Men’s Street Style This Year," 2 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tartan.' 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 tartan

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tartan

perhaps from Middle French tiretaine linsey-woolsey

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Statistics for tartan

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for tartan

The first known use of tartan was circa 1500

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English Language Learners Definition of tartan

: a traditional Scottish cloth pattern of stripes in different colors and widths that cross each other to form squares
: fabric with a tartan pattern


tar·​tan | \ ˈtär-tᵊn How to pronounce tartan (audio) \

Kids Definition of tartan

: a woolen cloth with a plaid design originally made in Scotland

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More from Merriam-Webster on tartan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tartan

Spanish Central: Translation of tartan

Nglish: Translation of tartan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tartan

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