member of a Jewish group in New Testament times, Middle English Saduce, from Old English, from Late Latin Sadducaei (plural), from Greek Zaddoukaios, an inexact transliteration of Hebrew tzedoqi, from the personal name Tzadhoq "Zadok" (II Samuel viii.17), the high priest from whom the priesthood of the captivity claimed descent. According to Josephus the sect denied the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels and spirits, but later historians regard them as the political party of the priestly class more than a sect. The man's name sometimes was said to mean "the just one," but OED finds this "philologically untenable." Related: Sadducean; Sadduceeism; Sadducaic; Saducaical; Saduceeic.
It is not easy to define exactly the doctrine of the Sadducees, because It was a negative rather than a positive philosophy, and a speculative rather than a practical system ; and for our knowledge of it we are almost wholly dependent on the representations of its opponents. It was the doctrine of the rich, the worldly, and the compliant. [Century Dictionary]
small city in Illinois, U.S., originally the name of a subdivision of the Miami/Illinois people (1673), from native /peewaareewa/. Their own name is said to mean "carriers." The place name also is found in Oklahoma and Iowa, but it is the Illinois city that has been proverbially regarded as the typical measure of U.S. cultural and intellectual standards at least since Ambrose Bierce (c. 1890). Also the butt of baseball player jokes (c. 1920-40, when a team there was part of the St. Louis Cardinals farm system) and popularized in the catchphrase It'll play in Peoria (often negative), meaning "the average American will approve," which was popular in the Nixon White House (1969-74) but seems to have had a vaudeville origin. Personification in little old lady in Peoria is said to be from Harold Ross of the New Yorker. Peoria's rivals as embodiment of U.S. small city values and standards include Dubuque, Iowa; Hoboken and Hackensack, N.J.; Oakland (Gertrude Stein: "When you get there, there isn't any there there") and Burbank, Calif., and the entire state of North Dakota.
fem. proper name, Danish shortened form of Katherine. Rare before 1928; a top-10 name for girls born in the U.S. 1951-1968.
The modern pejorative use in reference to a person regarded as ignorant, meddlesome, entitled, racist, or generally negative, is attested by 2005, originally often with reference to meanness or stupidity, and exploded in popularity 2018, with more emphasis on the racism and privilege. Its use as rhetorical shorthand probably was encouraged, if not inspired by, the 2004 movie "Mean Girls" (screenplay by Tina Fey) and by U.S. comedian Dane Cook's 2005 stand-up act, both of which produced memes and Twitter references. Claims that it originated in African-American circles are unsupported.
Beth Harpaz's 2001 book "Girls in the Van," about Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate campaign, reports that Clinton's assistants Karen Dunn and Karen Finney were known as The Karens. Finney went on to a career as a commentator, and some of the earliest abstract uses of Karen in the late 2000s are as the personification of a liberal do-gooder.