Woolen cloth, checkered or crossbarred with narrow bands of various colours, much worn in the Highlands of Scotland; hence, any pattern of tartan; also, other material of a similar pattern. MacCullummore's heart will be as cold as death can make it, when it does not warm to the tartan. (Sir W. Scott) The sight of the tartan inflamed the populace of london with hatred. (Macaulay)
Origin: F. Tiretane linsey-woolsey, akin to Sp. Tiritana a sort of thin silk; cf. Sp. Tiritar to shiver or shake with cold.