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cairn

[kairn] /kɛərn/
noun
1.
a heap of stones set up as a landmark, monument, tombstone, etc.
Also, carn.
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; earlier carn < Scots Gaelic: pile of stones; perhaps akin to horn
Related forms
cairned, adjective
cairny, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for cairny

cairn

/kɛən/
noun
1.
a mound of stones erected as a memorial or marker
2.
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 cairny

cairn

n.

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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Encyclopedia Article for cairny

cairn

a pile of stones that is used as a boundary marker, a memorial, or a burial site. Cairns are usually conical in shape and were often erected on high ground. Burial cairns date primarily from the Neolithic Period and the Early Bronze Age. Cairns are still used in some parts of the world as burial places, particularly where the soil is difficult to excavate or where wild animals might disturb the body. The term cairn is sometimes used interchangeably with barrow, and its usage is not well defined. See also barrow; burial mound.

Learn more about cairn with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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