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[kairnz] /kɛərnz/
a seaport in NE Australia.


[kairn] /kɛərn/
a heap of stones set up as a landmark, monument, tombstone, etc.
Also, carn.
Origin of cairn
1525-35; earlier carn < Scots Gaelic: pile of stones; perhaps akin to horn
Related forms
cairned, adjective
cairny, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Cairns
Historical Examples
  • After the dinner Cairns rose to his feet, to the sound of loud applause.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • Here they found the last of the Cairns, and the answer to their construction.

    The Marooner Charles A. Stearns
  • There was one for Betty, one for Cairns, and two for the servants.

    A Bed of Roses W. L. George
  • Maitland, in his History of Edinburgh, p. 307, calls these Cairns the "Cat-heaps."

  • Three Cairns, all demolished, stood on the Stuart property, half a mile from Woodland Cave.

  • I went to Mrs. Cairns, and thus became acquainted with Anne.

    A Coin of Edward VII Fergus Hume
  • That white cluster is part of Cairns, and the huge blue plain of sea makes a background to a picture hard to beat.

    From Chart House to Bush Hut Charles W. L. Bryde
  • However, after prolonged negotiations, he accepted Cairns on the latter's own terms.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • Cairns assented, and promised to furnish two articles yearly.

    Principal Cairns John Cairns
  • Then the door opened suddenly, and Cairns confronted him in a white fury.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
British Dictionary definitions for Cairns


/kænz; kɛənz/
a port in NE Australia, in Queensland. Pop: 98 981 (2001)


a mound of stones erected as a memorial or marker
Also called cairn terrier. a small rough-haired breed of terrier originally from Scotland
Word Origin
C15: from Gaelic carn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Cairns



1530s, from Scottish carne, from Gaelic carn "heap of stones, rocky hill," akin to Gaulish karnon "horn," from PIE root *ker-n- "highest part of the body, horn," thus "tip, peak" (see horn (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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