Part of speech: noun
Origin: Gaelic, 15th century
A pile of stones used as a landmark or path marker
A rounded mound of stones used as a monument or tombstone
Examples of Cairn in a sentence
"They lost their trail map, but there was a cairn to mark the correct path."
"The ancient churchyard was scattered with cairns, marking the locations of graves among the grass."
A cairn is a pile of rocks used as a monument. Before granite and marble cutting tools were available, the natural formation of rocks was enough to pay tribute. Today you might still use a cairn to designate your favorite campsite, or a particularly good trail. Make a monument to anything you like.
Did you Know?
Just like the word cairn, the Cairn Terrier hails from Scotland. This small working dog was bred to help hunt among the rock cairns in the Scottish Highlands. You might recognize the most famous Cairn Terrier, Toto from “The Wizard of Oz.”