Quick Facts on Karen
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
Pure one, innocent
Etymology & Historical Origin - Karen
Karen is the Danish equivalent of Katherine, which the English adopted from the French Catherine. The French were among the heaviest users of the female name Catherine in medieval times thanks to the popularity of a 4th century Christian saint martyred in Alexandria, Egypt. The French would adopt saint names as a protective measure for their children, and they spread many of these names to England after the Norman Invasion. The etymology of Catherine is debated, but it is possible she shares her roots with the Greek name Hecate, goddess of the wilderness, childbirth, and crossroads. The 4th-Century Saint Catherine of Alexandria, nicknamed 'the pure one,' was a Christian martyr tortured on the wheel for upholding her religious beliefs. It is widely held that Catherine is associated with the Greek ‘katharos’' meaning 'pure'. Our modern use of the Greek-derived “catharsis,” (to purge or cleanse), also lends to C/Katherine's association with ideas of purity and innocence. In the Danish language (a Germanic language), Katherine became Karen. The name was brought to America by Scandinavian settlers.
Popularity of the Name Karen
Karen has been in use in America for well over a century. As we entered the 20th century, Karen was at really low levels of usage on the U.S. popularity charts. The name would fall on and off the charts every few years, as if it couldn’t decide if it was staying or going. Well, staying it was. Karen had one of the most remarkable ascents on the charts – basically, in ten short years (from 1928-1937) Karen went from obscurity into high fashion. Karen became a Top 100 choice for girls in 1938, landing squarely at #50 on the charts. She didn’t stop there; Karen’s most successful decades were the 1950s and 1960s when she was a Top 10 favorite for little girls. The name even reached #3 on the charts in 1965, only to be beat out by Lisa and Mary. After her glory days in the sun, Karen started her slow decline down the charts in the 70s and finally fell off the Top 100 list in 1987 after a 50 year run. Karen is no longer in vogue and has gracefully stepped aside for the Kaitlyn and Kaylees of the world. What was once red hot is now passé. Nonetheless, Karen has that strong Scandinavian no-nonsense quality like Annika or Ingrid. Karen is a great choice for parents of Scandinavian descent, or for people who simply prefer the unpretentious, confident-sounding modern classics. We think Karen fits the bill.
Popularity of the Girl Name Karen
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Karen
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Karen
Karen We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Karen.
Popular Songs on Karen
Goodbye, Karen - a song by Jilted John
Karen - a song by The Rip Chords
Karen by Night - a song by Jill Sobule
Karen Koltrane - a song by Sonic Youth
Karen's Letter - a song by Jilted John
Tunic (Song for Karen) - a song by Sonic Youth
Children's Books on the Baby Name Karen
It's Not the End of the World (Judy Blume) - Karen couldn't tell Mrs. Singer why she had to have her Viking diorama out of the sixth grade showcase. She felt like yelling, “To keep my parents from getting divorced.” But she couldn't say it, and the whole class was looking at her anyway. Karen's world was ending. Her father had moved out of the house weeks before; now he was going to Las Vegas to get divorced and her mother was pleased! She had only a few days to get the two of them together in the same room. Maybe, if she could, they would just forget about the divorce. Then the Newman family could be its old self again -- maybe. But Karen knew something she didn't know last winter: that sometimes people who shouldn't be apart are impossible together. So she felt like yelling at Mrs. Singer. And then Mrs. Singer did a surprising thing....Recommended for ages 9-12.
Stinker From Space (Pamela Service) - In the middle of an outer space battle, space warrior Tsynq Yr is forced to land on earth and switch into the body of a skunk. But earth is no place for him. Thank goodness Karen stops by. With her computer-whiz friend Jonathan, the three of them hatch a hair-raising scheme involving all the local skunks and even the space shuttle to get their new friend back into orbit! Recommended for ages 9-12.
Famous People Named Karen
Famous People Named Karen - Karen Allen (actress); Karen Carpenter (musician); Karen Davies (golfer); Karen Armstrong (comparative religion author); Karen Mulder (supermodel)
Children of Famous People Named Karen
Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Karen - Bob Marley (reggae musician); Sid Caesar (entertainer)
Karen - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures
Karen - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Karen.
Personality of the Girl Name Karen
The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature. They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.
Variations of the Baby Name - Karen