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Definition of "clan" []

  • A traditional social unit in the Scottish Highlands, consisting of a number of families claiming a common ancestor and following the same hereditary chieftain. (noun)
  • A division of a tribe tracing descent from a common ancestor. (noun)
  • A large group of relatives, friends, or associates. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "clan" in a sentence
  • "How can you claim that a prophesy about a leader appearing from a certain clan is fulfilled by Jesus, who merely happened to be born in town that shares its name with that clan?"
  • "Among the tribes of the Siouan family the primary unit is the clan or gens, which is composed of a number of consanguinei, claiming descent from a common ancestor and having common taboos; the term clan implying descent in the female line, while gens implies descent in the male line."
  • "Italy's interior minister says the six victims were members of what he calls a clan in Italy's southern region of Calabria."