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Crossword clues for cairn

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Ahead, a low cairn of granite boulders rose clear of the moor.
▪ Cigarette ends growing into a mound similar to a cairn over a dead hero.
▪ Some one constructed a stone walkway leading to the cairn, as though it were an altar.
▪ Spaced evenly from the bottom up, concentric rings of black crow feathers rise to the top of the cairn.
▪ The conical cairn is built with terraces.
▪ These passage-graves were covered with cairns of stone, frequently mixed with shells in coastal districts.
▪ They comprise pits dug deep into the ground, lined with logs, and covered with a low cairn of stones.
▪ This time, we succeeded and indeed met no difficulties apart from one awkward step across a gap just before the cairn.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Cairn \Cairn\, n. [Gael. carn, gen. cairn, a heap: cf. Ir. & W. carn.]

  1. A rounded or conical heap of stones erected by early inhabitants of the British Isles, apparently as a sepulchral monument.

    Now here let us place the gray stone of her cairn.

  2. A pile of stones heaped up as a landmark, or to arrest attention, as in surveying, or in leaving traces of an exploring party, etc.
    --C. Kingsley. Kane.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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


n. 1 A rounded or conical heap of stones erected by early inhabitants of the British Isles, apparently as a sepulchral monument. 2 A pile of stones heaped up as a landmark, to guide travelers on land or at sea, or to arrest attention, as in surveying, or in leaving traces of an exploring party, etc. 3 A cairn terrier.

  1. n. a mound of stones piled up as a memorial or to mark a boundary or path

  2. small rough-haired breed of terrier from Scotland [syn: cairn terrier]


A cairn is a human-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word cairn comes from the (plural ). Cairns have been and are used for a broad variety of purposes, from pre-historic times up to the present.

In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times. However, since prehistory, they have also been built and used as burial monuments; for defense and hunting; for ceremonial purposes, sometimes relating to astronomy; to locate buried items, such as caches of food or objects; and to mark trails, among other purposes.

Cairns are used as trail markers in many parts of the world, in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, as well as in barren deserts and tundra. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, whether for increased visibility or for religious reasons. An ancient example is the inuksuk (plural inuksuit), used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found from Alaska to Greenland. This region, above the Arctic Circle, is dominated by the tundra biome and has areas with few natural landmarks.

Cairn (disambiguation)

A cairn is a man-made pile of stones.

Cairn may also refer to:

Usage examples of "cairn".

It looked like nothing more than a cairn marker, a huge, elongated slab of stone tilted upward at the southernmost end, as if pointing the way across the Nenoth Odhan to Aren or some other, more recent destination.

Yet Argustal passed a bird sitting on a cairn, its hooded eye bleared with a million years of danger.

It is well worth a visit, although Ri Cruin cairn may prove a little too far.

He was palpably anxious that Cairn should have confirmation of the Efreet story from the Indian.

Slothrop kicks aside loose earth and finds a brick cairn, stuffed with potatoes ensiled last year.

Hulbert, who has written with filial pen of the valley, says that occasionally a traveller repairs a rough wooden cross made of boards or tree branches and planted among the rocks of the cairn.

And it happened, too, that he was the one person in all the world that Jock would most wish not to hear it, for he was gamekeeper to the Laird of Glen Cairn, and the Laird of Glen Cairn owned all the land for miles and miles about in every direction.

At first he talked of hospital in Cairns for the remainder of her pregnancy, but after a long think about her husbandless, friendless situation he decided she would be better off with Luddie and Anne, who did care for her.

Water trickled down the cairn into the basin, and women, Lordkin and kinless alike, came to dip water into stone and clay jars.

Hugh Cairns was his second son, and was educated at Belfast academy and at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a senior moderatorship in classics in 1838.

Hundreds of the women and children of the red hunters, fanned out for pasangs, shouting, beating on pans had turned the herd toward the great alley of stone cairns.

A cairn of flat stones dominated the centre of the spiral, in the rough, awkward form of a figure standing on two legs made of stacked stones, a single broad one forming the hips, the torso made of three more, the arms each a single projecting, rectangular stone out to the side, the head a single, oblong rock sheathed in lichen.

Some wept, while hurried cairns were raised over the glass-stiff, few corpses they recovered.

It was an auld cairn, the kind laid wi' slabs of rock, all heaped round with stones, and he could see before him the black opening of the tomb.

At the same time we built a great cairn, and left there a can of 17 litres of paraffin, two packets of matches -- containing twenty boxes -- and an account of our expedition.