Dictionary.com’s Slang of the Day

  • KAREN.


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    Karen
    joins a trend on the internet in the 2010s of using a first name to make fun of certain kinds of people. A Becky, for example, is a stereotype for a “basic”young, white woman, while a Chad, in other corners of the internet, stands in for a cocky, young “dudebro.”

    But, why the name Karen? One suggestion is that it comes from a 2007 bit by Dane Cook called “The Friend Nobody Likes.” (The friend was named Karen.) Another explanation is that it comes from the character Karen in the 2004 film Mean Girls....

    Whatever the origin of the slang, the name Karen, apparently, is popularly thought of as a generic-seeming name for a middle-aged white woman of a certain generation.

    ...Tropes that developed about Karen were that she is an annoying (and always annoyed) middle-aged, suburban, minivan-driving white, divorced mother of poorly behaved boys (of whom she has custody) who has a so-called “speak to the manager” haircut.

    This haircut is a short, angled blonde bob, sometimes called a “mom haircut.” “Speak to the manager” refers to escalating complaints or demands from retail or restaurant workers to their managers—a stereotypical behavior of Karen....