A guide to the Clans and Tartans of Scotland: From Scottish Clan Information to Clan Merchandise, Handmade Kilts, Highland Outfits ... everything a true Scot should need and know.

Glossary of Useful Terms

Ancient (Anc) Term used to describe the use of colours which simulate natural dyes in tartan, natural dyes were used before the mid 1700s
Apron The front part of a kilt
Assymetrical A tartan 'sett' which does not 'pivot' and reverse at given intervals
Badge The Heraldic Crest of a clan chief - surrounded by a strap & buckle
Balmoral Traditional Scottish Bonnet
Chain Strap Metal & or leather strap which is attached to the sporran in order to wear it
Count The number of threads in each colour band in tartan
Dirk Large ceremonial dagger - usually finely decorated
District Tartan A tartan that is associated to a district rather than a family or clan name
Dress Tartan A variation of a tartan in which the 'ground' or other background colour has been changed to white
Family Tartan A tartan associated to a family name - one which is not a recognised clan
Flashes Small strips of tartan or woven material attached to a garter which is worn with the 'hose'
Ground The dominant colour within a tartan design - the colour which would appear to be the background
Hose A type of thick sock either knitted or woven worn with a kilt
Modern Colour shades produced by chemical dyes (post 1860)
Old Used to descibe a tartan sett which predates the one in common use
Pivot The central colour band within a tartan design where the pattern reverses and repeats
Pleated to sett Pleating a kilt so that the pattern on the rear matches the front
Pleated to stripe Pleating a kilt so that the narrow stripe of the tartan is visible on each pleat - common on regimental kilts
Repeat The 'sett' including its pivot and mirror image to form one complete pattern instance
Reproduction Colours used to represent the fading of tartan dyes due to sunlight or weathering
Selvedge The border at the edge of a woven tartan (usually a thicker thread) which prevents unravelling
Sept A branch of a clan or a family who sought protection of a clan
Sett The count of threads making up one tartan pattern from 'pivot' to 'pivot'
Sgian Dubh Meaning 'dark knife' a small dagger traditionally worn in the 'hose' on a kilt outfit
Sporran A purse made of leather, sealskin, badger or other animal fur
Waist Plate Buckle
Warp Length-wise threads on a loom
Web Finished cloth - still on the loom
Weft Cross wise threads on the loom