- 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, relating to, or resembling tartan.
- made of tartan.
- a design of straight lines, crossing at right angles to give a chequered appearance, esp the distinctive design or designs associated with each Scottish clanthe Buchanan tartan
- (as modifier)a tartan kilt
- a woollen fabric or garment with this design
- the tartan Highland dress
- a single-masted vessel used in the Mediterranean, usually with a lateen sail
mid-15c., perhaps from Middle French tiretaine “strong, coarse fabric” (mid-13c.), from Old French tiret “kind of cloth,” from tire “silk cloth,” from Medieval Latin tyrius “cloth from Tyre.” If this is the source, spelling likely influenced in Middle English by tartaryn “rich silk cloth” (mid-14c.), from Old French tartarin “Tartar cloth,” from Tartare “Tartar,” the Central Asian people (see Tartar).