Karen Name Meaning, Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Karen Name Meaning and Origin

Naming your child is one of the most exciting and challenging tasks; therefore, parents want to choose the best name possible. The name Karen has a beautiful meaning and was one of the most popular names among our aunts and mothers. It was the most popular name from 1940 to 1970. However, it has significantly declined in popularity presently because of the stigma attached to the name. The name has been associated with an “entitled white woman who throws public tantrums.” However, this does not do justice to this beautiful name.

What Does Karen Mean?

When selecting a name for your child, parents often evaluate the name’s meaning. The meaning of Karen is “pure” in Danish, Latin, Swedish, and French. In Irish, the name is associated with a legendary Celtic warrior named “Caireann Chasdubh,” from which the name Karen, meaning “little friend” or “little beloved,” is derived.


An abbreviation of the name Katherine, the name originates from Scandinavia. The name also has Greek roots and  is derived from “katharos,” meaning “pure.” Despite the name’s meaning, the popularity of the name has significantly declined with time.




  • Keh-ren
  • Kah-rehn
  • Kehr-en


2 syllables


5 letters

Name Variations/Spellings

A name contains multiple variations which have different meanings and origins across the world. Other spellings for Karen have numerous variations as well. Therefore, some of the Karen name variations are:

Name Origin
Karyn Scandinavian
Karon Danish
Kaja Danish
Katherine Danish
Caren Welsh
Kerin Gaelic
Caryn Scandinavian and Danish
Karin Swedish
Kerryn American
Karan Indian and Bangladeshi

How Popular Is the Name Karen?

The popularity of the name Karen was prominent in the 1900s. However, its popularity has been rapidly declining in the last decade. The Karen popularity index observes the name declined from the top 200 girl name list in the US. Data collected from the Social Security Administration states the name ranking 153 in 2000, after which it regained its popularity slightly by ranking 141 in 2003. Nevertheless, the name went down from the top 200 list in 2009 by ranking 230. After this, the name dipped in popularity and gradually began decreasing.

The name went down from the top 300 in 2012, ranking 354. The SSA data indicates the further declination of the name to 505 in 2015 followed by 557 in 2017. The Karen baby name ranking was 637 in 2018, 660 in 2019, and 831 in 2020. Although the name has a wonderful meaning, the stigma is one of the primary reasons behind the name’s collapse.

Interest in Karen – Worldwide

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As per trends, the interest in the name Karen has experienced an upward and downward curve. It dipped the lowest in June 2018 over the last ten years. Despite that, it has steadily maintained a rank over 55 and reached the highest in July 2020. This shows that although the popularity of the name Karen is fading worldwide, there is a potential of the name going up in rank as per the present trends.

Interest in Karen – US

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The interest in the name Karen has experienced sudden spikes over the last decade in the US. The name has usually sustained a rank over 45 and dipped the lowest in March 2020. However, the interest reached the highest peak in July 2020. After that, the name’s interest significantly dropped in the country.

Popularity of the name Karen

URL: https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/babyname.cgi

Where Is the Name Most Searched?

Search trends of Karen – Worldwide

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The search trends indicate the name Karen being the most popular in Armenia. It is followed by Kenya, Peru, Denmark, and New Zealand. This indicates the name being the most used in these countries across the world.

Search trends of Karen – US

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The top five cities where the name Karen is the most searched in the US are Massachusetts, Connecticut, District of Columbia, South Dakota, and Rhode Island. Therefore, the search trend indicates that the name’s usage in these cities is the highest.

Middle Names That Go With Karen

Many parents might think middle names are not important. However, they are as crucial as your child’s first name. They help in ensuring a smooth flow of the overall name. Therefore, some of the suitable double names with Karen are:

Jennifer Heather
Helena Natalia
Faye Ashlynn
Brooke Sage
Abbey Louisa
Selena Lawrin
Eloise Isabel
Eliza Vivien
Addison Faith
Miriam Meredith

Famous People Named Karen

Celebrities have a strong influence on the lives of people. They also impact name trends leading to the popularity of a name. Some of the famous people called Karen are:

Celebrity Name Profession/Famous For
Karen Armstrong British author on comparative religion
Karen Bjornson American model
Karen Ackerman American children’s author
Karen Cockburn Canadian Olympic trampolinist
Karen Elson British model and singer
Karen LaFace American diver
Karen Harding English singer
Karen Mulder Dutch model and singer
Karen Black American actress
Karen Delos Reyes Filipina actress

Similar Names & Last Names

A name chosen by parents can have different variations. Although they might have the same meaning, they would have different spellings. Baby names like Karen have quite a few other names with the same or similar meanings. This list consists of the family names for Karen along with other names for Karen:

Similar Baby Names Suitable Family Names
Bella Lewis
Caetlyn Clark
Kaitlin Hill
Liliana Martin
Annalee Lopez
Tahira Campbell
Kaidee Allen
Phoebe Young
Annabell Baker
Gianna Nelson

Names That Sound Like Karen

Similar sounding names can prove to be great alternatives and provide parents with more options to choose from. Therefore, some of the names that rhyme with Karen are:

Sharon Lauren
Kairen Maureen
Raven Vivian
Faren Susan
Laren Josephine
Carmen Hayden
Jayleen Gwen
Taleen Aileen

Sibling Names Related to Karen

Selecting the names for your children should be done to ensure harmony among all the names. Likewise, when choosing sibling names with Karen, importance should be given to all suitable names. Hence, some of the suitable sibling names for Karen are:

Sister Names for Karen Brother Names for Karen
Chloe Liam
Sophie Owen
Leah Oliver
Tracey Lucas
Naomi Julian
Summer Noah
Mia Dylan
Lola Mason
Susan Adrian
Laurie Christopher

Nicknames for Karen

Nicknames have a special place in all our hearts. This is usually because our near and dear ones call us by such names. Some of the nicknames for Karen are:

Kar Ren
Carr Renny
Kari Remy
Kiara Reno
Kay Kaykay
Kaz Kare bear
Kara Kiki
Koko Rainy

In the present decade, the name Karen has drastically lost its popularity. The name is close to reaching 900 and may even drop out from the top 1000 baby names list. Eliminating the stigma from the name can help the name return to the popular spot it used to enjoy during the 1940s. Therefore, with the younger generation’s knack for breaking stereotypes, this name can gain back its popularity.


Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/babyname.cgi
Karen Name Popularity in the United States: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-01-01%202021-09-28&geo=US&q=Karen
Karen Name Popularity Across The World: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-01-01%202021-09-28&q=Karen
Karen Name Interest in the United States: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-01-01%202021-09-28&geo=US&q=Karen
Karen Name Interest Across The World: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-01-01%202021-09-28&q=Karen

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.