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 The car comes with a custom sound system, navigation, C6 power locks, power windows, C6 air conditioning and a custom tartan headliner and trunk liner. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Barrett-Jackson: 10 celebrity, charity and other cool cars to cross auction block on Friday," 17 Jan. 2020 The actress arrived in a strapless tartan Thom Browne look from the designer's resort 2019 collection, a black leather jacket, and Nike's classic Cortez running shoes. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kristen Stewart Rocked Nike Sneakers Underneath Her Red Carpet Dress," 21 Nov. 2019 This is the future (plus George’s tartan trousers & PoW🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 show Union strong). Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Prince George Wears Plaid Pants in a New Portrait of Four Generations of Royals," 3 Jan. 2020 And yes, that quote could apply to both the lads from the mountainous microstate or the mountainous tartan state. SI.com, "90min's Definitive European Player Power Rankings: International Break Special," 18 Oct. 2019 The classic tartan and madras multicolor patterns ubiquitous among school uniforms, not to mention fall fashion in general. Marci Robin, Allure, "Dua Lipa's Neon Plaid Manicure Is the Perfect Transitional Nail Art for Summer to Fall," 19 Sep. 2019 From tartan skirts and fringed pullovers to sweaters adorned with delightful pom-poms, there's almost too much to choose from. Kelsey Mulvey, Marie Claire, "English Factory Makes Influencer-Approved Sweaters on Amazon for Under $100," 30 Sep. 2019 This season, campuses with abound in tartan, weskits, cummerbunds, slacks and separate jackets. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Back to school fashion in 1950," 27 Aug. 2019 After Notre-Dame burned, an old photo of Sylvia Plath in front of the cathedral, wearing a tartan skirt, made the rounds. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "Reader, I Googled It," 26 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for tartan

Time Traveler

The first known use of tartan was circa 1500

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Statistics for tartan

Last Updated

26 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tartan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tartan. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce tartan (audio)

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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