Karen (name)

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Pronunciation /ˈkærən/ KARR-ən
Gender Unisex
Language(s) Germanic
Other names
Related names Katherine, Karina, Karin

Karen is a given name. In English, it is a feminine name derived from Katherine, like other similar Germanic language names. In Iran and Armenia however, it is a masculine name deriving from other non-Germanic languages. The name is also found in modern Africa, as well as in Asia.

In English, Europe, and Scandinavia[edit]

In English, Karen is usually a feminine given name.

The name Karen was one of the top 10 names for girls born in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, peaking as the 3rd most popular girl's name in 1965.[1]

Karen is a Danish short form of "Katherine". It has been common in the English-speaking world since the 1940s. Variants include Caja, Kaja (Danish), Caren, Caryn, Karena, Kaat, Karin, Karyn, Kerena. The name is used in the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, German and English languages.[2]

In Armenia and Iran[edit]

Pronunciation [kɒː'ræn]
Gender masculine
Meaning pure
Region of origin Iran, Armenia

In Armenia and Iran, Karen is a common masculine given name.

The masculine given name Karen derived from the Persian name of House of Karen (or Caren), one of the seven aristocratic families of the Parthian Empire. Several Persian princes named Karen are known before and after the Islamic period. The Karen house ruled the Tabaristan region of Iran, which approximately corresponds to the current provinces of Gilan state and Mazandaran. Moreover, Karen means a brave (or a valorous) man in Persian.

In Armenian, Karen is also derived from the ancient Armenian masculine given name Kar. Kar Haykazuni, for example, was a king of ancient Armenia who reigned from 1287 to 1283 B.C. during the Hayk Nahapet dynasty.[3]

The masculine given name Garen is a Western Armenian form of the Eastern Armenian Karen.

The masculine given name Karen was mentioned by the prominent Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi (ca. 410–490s AD; Armenian: Մովսես Խորենացի) in his book History of Armenia.[4]

Karen can also be a surname.

In Asia[edit]

In Asia, Karen is a feminine given name. The name can be found in Japan, and less commonly in such places as China, Malaysia and Philippines

Notable people[edit]

First name[edit]


Armenian and Iranian men[edit]

Asian people[edit]

Fictional people[edit]

Live action[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Davidson, Andrew (2007), Population Statistics for Karen, Raleigh, NC: nameplayground.com 
  2. ^ Вehind the Name
  3. ^ king of ancient Armenia
  4. ^ History of the Armenia by Movses Khorenatsi: Book_2_#28 and Book_2_#68