Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cairn Entry in Wiktionary

Picture of cairns along the Lion's Head trail on Mt. Washington, NH. Taken in late November during a snowstorm (from Wikipedia).
Etymology: from Scots cairn, from Scottish Gaelic carn (“‘heap of stones’”); compare Old Irish carn, Welsh carn, probably from a Proto-Celtic word meaning ‘horn’.

Noun: Singular cairn, Plural cairns
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. -Campbell.
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.
burial mound

Wikipedia has an article on: Cairn
It says: "A cairn (carn in Irish, carnedd in Welsh, càrn in Scots Gaelic) is a manmade pile of stones, often in a conical form. They are usually found in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops or near waterways."

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