Definition of Karen in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kəˈrɛn/

noun (plural same or Karens)

1A member of an indigenous people of eastern Burma (Myanmar) and western Thailand.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2 [mass noun] The language of the Karen, which probably belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family. Its highly distinct dialects have over 5 million speakers altogether.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.


From Arakanese (a language of Burma) karang.

Words that rhyme with Karen

Adrienne, again, amen, Ardennes, Behn, Ben, Benn, Bren, cayenne, Cévennes, Dairen, den, en, fen, gen, glen, Glenn, Guyenne, Gwen, hen, julienne, ken, Len, Loren, men, Nene, Ogaden, paren, pen, Penn, Phnom Penh, Rennes, Shenzhen, Sun Yat-sen, ten, then, Tlemcen, when, wren, yen, zazen, Zen Aran, Arran, baron, barren, Darren, Sharon, yarran

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Karen

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.