Meaning of Karen in English:


Pronunciation /kəˈrɛn/

nounplural noun Karen, plural noun Karens

  • 1A member of an indigenous people of eastern Burma (Myanmar) and western Thailand.

    ‘Nearly 100,000 members of ethnic minority groups in Myanmar, mostly Karens, have fled to Thailand to escape the fighting in their country.’
    • ‘Another important region for the Karens is the eastern border with Thailand.’
    • ‘The same would apply, for instance, to the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Karens of Burma, the people of Aceh in Indonesia and the Muslims of the Southern Philippines.’
    • ‘More than 100 Karens fled into Thailand on Friday after a clash between ruling junta troops and ethnic minority guerrillas in neighboring Myanmar, according to a Thai military official.’
    • ‘Perhaps 3 million Burmese, mostly Karens, Kachins, Chins, and Lisu, are Christians who accept animistic rituals like the Burmans, who are mostly Theravada Buddhists.’
    • ‘The Karens are the second-largest ethnic group in Myanmar, forming 6.3% of Myanmar's total population, according to official figures.’
    • ‘The displaced people have taken refuge in the two camps since 1998, the officials said, adding most of them are Karens who fled fighting in Myanmar.’
    • ‘The study reveals that Indonesians might have been the first inhabitants of Burma followed by Pyus, Karens, Chins and Rakhines.’
    • ‘Most Burmese Baptists are members of the major tribal groups, including the Karens and the Chins.’
  • 2mass noun The language of the Karen, which probably belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family. Its highly distinct dialects have over 5 million speakers altogether.

    ‘Other than Karen and Bai, Tibeto-Burman languages feature a Subject Object Verb order.’
    • ‘Karen is a language cluster spoken in lower Myanmar, and in areas bordering Thailand’


  • Relating to the Karen or their language.

    ‘Most famously, the Htoo twins, pre-teen mystic leaders of a Karen group called God's Army, grabbed headlines in 2000 as the most unlikely of guerrilla generals.’
    • ‘The camp, accounting for 16 acres, is temporary shelter to 8,200 refugees who belong to a Karen minority who have been fighting with the Myanmar government for a homeland for decades.’
    • ‘And on Monday a group of 10 men belonging to God's Army, a Karen minority rebel group, broke into a hospital in the province.’
    • ‘On reading this Karen story of a giantess, I was struck by how similar it is in structure and function to certain Korean tales which I have read.’
    • ‘Within Burma, the Karen people live spread across from Irrawaddy, Pegu and Rangoon, down to the Tenasserim Divisions.’


From Arakanese (a language of Burma) karang.