[ 2 syll. ka-ren, kar-en ] The baby girl name Karen is pronounced in English as KAER-ahN or KEHR-ahN †. Karen is largely used in English, German, Scandinavian, and Dutch, and its origin is Old Greek. It is from the elements 'carus' which means dear ; 'katharos' pure. The name evolved as a Scandinavian form of Katharina. It could also be derived from the phonetically similar Latin element 'carus'.
In addition, Karen is a Dutch, English, German, and Scandinavian diminutive form of the name Catherine (English and French) as well as a Dutch, English, German, and Scandinavian variant transcription of the name Katherine (English).
The name Karen is widely used; it has 62 variant transcriptions that are used in English and other languages. English variant transcriptions include Cariyn, Carone, Carren, Carryn, Kaaran, Kaaren, Kalena (also used in Hawaiian), Kalini, Kar, Karaina, Karanne, Kariana, Kariann, Karianna, Karianne, Karien, Karna, Karra, Karran, Karron, Karyen, Keran, Kerin, Kerran, Kerrin, Kerron, Kerryn, Keryn, Kieron, and Koren. Other English forms include the diminutive forms Carina (also used in German, Italian, and Scandinavian), Karena (also used in Scandinavian), Kari (also used in Scandinavian), Karina (also used in German, Latvian, Russian, Scandinavian and Polish), Karith, and Kay, and the spelling variants Caren (also used in German), Carin (also used in Dutch and German), Caron, Carrin, Carron, Caryn (also used in Scandinavian), Carynn, Karan, Karon, Karren, Karrin, Karryn, Karyn, Karynn, and Keren (also used in Hebrew).
Variation transcriptions of Karen used in other languages include Carem (Spanish), Kaarina (Finnish), Kalina (Hawaiian), Karenna (Scandinavian), Karin (Finnish, German, and Scandinavian), Karine (French and Russian), and Karyna (Russian). The diminutive form Kajsa (Scandinavian) is another foreign variant.
See also the related form, Anakaren.
Karen is a classic favorite. Currently it is still a fairly popular baby name for girls, though it was in more widespread use in the past. The name's popularity increased from the 1920s up to the 1950s. Its usage peaked in 1956 with 1.945% of baby girls being named Karen. It ranked at #7 then. The baby name has since experienced a steep fall in popularity. In 2018, its usage was only 0.025% and its ranking #635. Among the group of girl names directly related to Karen, Katherine was the most frequently used. In 2018, it was used 6 times more than Karen. The name Karen has been mostly given to baby girls, though it has also been used as a boy name in the past century. In 1969, the name Karen was given to 250 times as many baby girls than boys.
Baby names that sound like Karen include Karin, Karon, Karran, Karren, Karron, Keran, Kerran, Kerron, Carron, Charon, Kaaran, Kaaren, Karsan, Karsen, Karsin, Karson, Karsyn, Karyan, Kearsten, and Kerigan.
† Pronunciation for Karen: K as in "key (K.IY)" ; AE as in "at (AE.T)" ; R as in "race (R.EY.S)" ; AH as in "mud (M.AH.D)" ; EH as in "ebb (EH.B)" ; N as in "knee (N.IY)"
Details of famous persons named Karen:
Author Karen Armstrong.
Medical Patient Karen Ann Quinlan, born 29 March 1954 - 11 June 1985, Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Model Karen Elson, born 14 January 1979, Oldham, England.
Model Karen Mulder, born 1 June 1968, Vlaardingen, Netherlands.