tar tan


a woolen or worsted cloth woven with stripes of different colors and widths crossing at right angles, worn chiefly by the Scottish Highlanders, each clan having its own distinctive plaid.
a design of such a plaid known by the name of the clan wearing it.
any plaid.
of, pertaining to, or resembling tartan.
made of tartan.

1490–1500; variant of tertane < Middle French tertaine (Old French tiretaine) linsey-woolsey

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World English Dictionary
tartan1 (ˈtɑːtən)
1.  a.  a design of straight lines, crossing at right angles to give a chequered appearance, esp the distinctive design or designs associated with each Scottish clan: the Buchanan tartan
 b.  (as modifier): a tartan kilt
2.  a woollen fabric or garment with this design
3.  the tartan Highland dress
[C16: perhaps from Old French tertaine linsey-woolsey, from Old Spanish tiritaña a fine silk fabric, from tiritar to rustle]

tartan2 (ˈtɑːtən)
a single-masted vessel used in the Mediterranean, usually with a lateen sail
[C17: from French, perhaps from Provençal tartana falcon, buzzard, since a ship was frequently given the name of a bird]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1454, probably from M.Fr. tiretaine "strong, coarse fabric" (1247), from O.Fr. tiret "kind of cloth," from tire "silk cloth," from M.L. tyrius "cloth from Tyre." If this is the source, spelling likely infl. in M.E. by tartaryn "rich silk cloth" (1343), from O.Fr. tartarin "Tartar cloth," from Tartare
"Tartar," the Central Asian people (see Tartar).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Tartan definition

an Assyrian word, meaning "the commander-in-chief." (1.) One of Sennacherib's messengers to Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:17). (2.) One of Sargon's generals (Isa. 20:1).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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