Definition of Kayan in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkīən/ /ˈkaɪən/

nounKayan, Kayans

  • 1A member of an indigenous people of Sarawak and Borneo.

    ‘In the village I saw the Kayans singing songs and playing musical instruments to get money from the tourists.’
    • ‘Everybody got drunk on tuak and had a great time, though the Kayans never caught any fish.’
    • ‘There is a disciplinary board with elder Kayans acting as advisers since they are well versed in customary law.’
    • ‘The Kayans are perhaps less aggressive than any other of the interior peoples with the exception of the Punans.’
    • ‘The other Dayak groups, especially the Kayans and Penans, have maintained their ancient customs, habits, and religious beliefs to a much greater extent.’
  • 2The Indonesian language of the Kayan.

    ‘Kenyah and Kayan are closely related Austronesian languages.’
    • ‘Consider the following systems from two western Malayo-Polynesian languages spoken within a few hundred miles of each other: Kayan, spoken in central Borneo; and Kimaragang Dusun, spoken in northeastern Borneo.’


  • Relating to the Kayan or their language.

    ‘As with early processes of conversion, the decision to cease making rice wine seems to have been taken on a community basis at some Kayan villages.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the feeling that moral dangers attend the habit of smoking is real enough and the censure that accrues to the practice is a deterrent to most young Kayan women.’
    • ‘Patterns of consumption do vary, however, including between Kayan communities themselves.’
    • ‘Combined with driving large timber trucks, these things define a certain kind of dash among young Kayan men.’
    • ‘This paper is based on field research in the mid-1990s in a remote upriver Kayan community on the Baram River in Sarawak, East Malaysia.’


The name in Kayan.