Definition of Punan in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /puːˈnɑːn/

noun (plural same or Punans)

1A member of any of various groups of Dayak peoples inhabiting parts of Borneo.
Example sentences
  • In the city, the Punan benefit from all positive effects of development.
  • Sago starch harvested from palm trees is still the main source of carbohydrate for the Punan living in the remote forest village of Rian Tibu.
  • Originally, Orang Ulu was a name given to the Kayan and Kenyah tribes and smaller neighbouring tribes which include the Kajang, Kejaman, Punan, Ukit and Penan.
2 [mass noun] Any of the related languages of the Punan, now with fewer than 4,000 speakers.
Example sentences
  • While your average Southeast Asian expat would rarely speak more than 2 languages, Tivai is multilingual and speaks 8 (Punan, Kenyah, Kayan, Iban, Bazaar Malay, Bahasa Indonesia proper, a bit of Banjarese and Foochow Chinese).


Relating to the Punan or their languages.
Example sentences
  • A team of experts has spent months comparing the lives of the Punan people, who still live as hunter-gatherers in the forest of Indonesian Borneo, with those of tribe members who have been lured away by civilisation.
  • Searcy is presenting a seminar on translation to Punan church leaders.


The name in Dayak.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Punan

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.