Having a chestnut, bay, or sorrel coat thickly sprinkled with white or gray: a roan horse.
a. The characteristic coloring of a roan horse.
b. A roan horse or other animal.
2. A soft flexible sheepskin leather, often treated to resemble morocco and used in bookbinding.
[From Old French roan, rouan, from Old Spanish roán, rodano, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *rāvidānus (from Latin rāvidus, gray, yellowish-gray, from rāvus, gray, yellowish-gray, of unknown origin) and or of Germanic origin (akin to Old English rēad, red; see reudh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.