Definition of Tartan

1. Noun. A cloth having a crisscross design.

Exact synonyms: Plaid
Generic synonyms: Cloth, Fabric, Material, Textile

Definition of Tartan

1. n. Woolen cloth, checkered or crossbarred with narrow bands of various colors, much worn in the Highlands of Scotland; hence, any pattern of tartan; also, other material of a similar pattern.

2. n. A small coasting vessel, used in the Mediterranean, having one mast carrying large leteen sail, and a bowsprit with staysail or jib.

Definition of Tartan

1. Proper noun. The commander-in-chief of ancient Assyria. ¹

2. Noun. A kind of woven woollen cloth with a distinctive pattern of coloured stripes intersecting at right angles, associated with Scottish Highlanders, different clans having their own distinctive patterns. ¹

3. Noun. The pattern associated with such material. ¹

4. Noun. An individual or a group wearing tartan; a Highlander or Scotsman in general. ¹

5. Noun. Trade name of a synthetic resin, used for surfacing tracks etc. ¹

6. Adjective. Having a pattern like a tartan. ¹

7. Adjective. (humorous) Scottish. ¹

8. Verb. (transitive) To clothe in tartan. ¹

9. Noun. A type of one-masted vessel used in the Mediterranean. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Tartan

1. a patterned woolen fabric [n -S]

Medical Definition of Tartan

1. Woolen cloth, checkered or crossbarred with narrow bands of various colours, much worn in the Highlands of Scotland; hence, any pattern of tartan; also, other material of a similar pattern. "MacCullummore's heart will be as cold as death can make it, when it does not warm to the tartan." (Sir W. Scott) "The sight of the tartan inflamed the populace of London with hatred." (Macaulay) Origin: F. Tiretane linsey-woolsey, akin to Sp. Tiritana a sort of thin silk; cf. Sp. Tiritar to shiver or shake with cold. Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

Tartan Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Tartan

tarsotibial amputation
tarsus inferior
tarsus superior
tart burner
tart cell
tartan (current term)
tartar emetic
tartar sauce
tartar steak

Literary usage of Tartan

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge (1919)
"The word tartan seems to have been applied in early times to the material and not to the pattern. To-day the word tartan includes both material and pattern. ..."

2. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: Giving the Derivation, Source, Or Origin of by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer (1898)
"tartan Plaid. A plaid is a long shawl or scarf—some twelve yards of narrow cloth wrapped round the waist, or over the chest and one shoulder, aud reaching ..."

3. The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language by William Dwight Whitney (1891)
"This variegated cloth was formerly the distinctive dress of the Scottish Highlanders, the different clans having each its peculiar tartan. ..."

4. Adventure Guide to Scotland by Martin Li (2005)
"tartan tartan is a Scottish brand that is instantly recognizable around the world. ... What sets tartan apart from other checkered fabrics is the gallantry, ..."

5. Scottish Songs, Ballads and Poems by Hew Ainslie (1855)
"ON WI' THE tartan. Do ye like, my dear lassie, The hills wild an' free, ... Then on wi' the tartan, An' fy let us ride. haste Do ye like the knowes' lassie, ..."

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