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Plaid (pronounced "plad") is the name of the material which is used for making kilts. It isn't the name of the pattern on the material, this is called "tartan". In the US, plaid is sometimes pronounced "plaid" and usually refers to the material - plaid and tartan are interchangeable terms there, they aren't in Scotland.

Ray Dunn adds:
"plaid" is also the specific name for the tartan "cape" worn over the shoulder in full "highland dress", e.g. by pipers.
In my experience, from my long gone pipe band days, this was indeed called a "plaid" and not a "plad".

Dwelly wrote in 1901 under the entry for "féileadh-bhreacain" The kilted plaid. This consisted of twelve yards or more of narrow tartan, which was wrapped around the middle, and hung down to the knees. It was more frequently fastened round the middle by a belt, and then it was called "breacain-an-fhéilidh" or "féilidh-bhreacain". The breacain, or plaid part of this dress, was, according to occasion, wrapped round the shoulders, or fastened on the left shoulder with a brooch (braìsd) of gold, silver or steel, according to the wealth of the wearer. By this arrangment there was nothing to impede the free use of the sword-arm

Scottish FAQ > FAQ Contents > Traditions and Culture > Plaid > Top

Q-HTML V3.4 by Craig Cockburn created this page on 19-Jun-2012 at 08:06:29