I'm looking for the word that describes the classification or organization that has many clans.

For example:

  • Members belong to a Clan and the Clan has many members
  • Clans belong to a something and a something has many Clans
  • 3
    If this runs into a dead end here, asking a mod to migrate to English Language & Usage (where it would presumably be tagged [word-request]) might be the best move. Sep 19, 2015 at 17:05
  • 1
    To second Tuggy, that SE is largely "what's the word for..." questions--it'd be right at home there.
    – nitsua60
    Sep 19, 2015 at 17:07
  • Thanks for the advice @TuggyNE and nitsua60. I've got the answer that I was looking for, but will keep that community in mind for future word-related questions!
    – Wes Foster
    Sep 19, 2015 at 18:24
  • 2
    Querent admits this should have been on English language and usage...
    – Tritium21
    Sep 19, 2015 at 21:13
  • Oh, there's got to be a good pun for this one. I'm just no good at thinking up puns.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 20, 2015 at 0:12

3 Answers 3


Are you perhaps referring to the word "Tribe"?

A tribe is normally an organization that consists of many clans.

For example, The barbarians of Icewind Dale were all a large group that lived in the harsh wastes in the North of The Forgotten Realms. Each had their own designation, Such as Tribe of the Elk, Tribe of the Bear, Tribe of the Tiger, etc. And each Tribe had clans that while still belonging to those Tribes, were separate entities.

Those Barbarians were still members of the Larger tribe, they just lived in their own clan and took orders from the leader of their tribe.

  • Yes, this. I'm currently running a game of tribal politics/adventure (same setting as this one), and which tribes clans belong to is a super-important feature of the social landscape. Aside, it might be a nice parallel to mention that below the clan unit is the family unit. Sep 19, 2015 at 18:16
  • This seems to be the best answer at the current moment. While "Tribe" isn't exactly the word I'm wanting to you, you did open the doors to using more community-related words, such as "Kingdom" or "Empire". I'm accepting this answer as it has led me in the right direction, and it will hopefully steer others as well. Thanks!
    – Wes Foster
    Sep 19, 2015 at 18:22


Beside 'tribe', also consider 'nation'. The Iroquois League (a.k.a. the Five Nations) was a league of five (or six) nations.

Tribe is not a well-defined term. Sometimes the whole nation is referred to as a tribe, and sometimes subunits of the nation are referred to as tribes.

Each nation was made up of clans.


Try Folk, Northmen (Southerners etc.), Free dwarves, enlightened, Red- Blue- Axe- People, i hope you get the idea, or use a invented Name like Valar (Lotro).

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