One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A warrior or raider from the Scottish Highlands.
robber, raider, muggerView synonyms
- ‘But despite the commanders, the dukes, marquises knights and princes it is the common cateran who has left his mark.’
- ‘In 1390, on Robert II's death, Buchan and his caterans burned Forres, and then Elgin burgh and cathedral, in reprisals for Moray's actions.’
- ‘How, then, do we account for another footnoted passage, in Chapter 32, referring to the surprise attack by Rob Roy's caterans on the English horsemen under Captain Thornton?’
Middle English (originally in the plural or as a collective singular denoting the peasantry as fighters): from Scottish Gaelic ceathairne ‘peasantry’.
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