Definition of Khmer in English:



  • 1An ancient kingdom in SE Asia which reached the peak of its power in the 11th century, when it ruled over the entire Mekong valley from the capital at Angkor. It was destroyed by Siamese conquests in the 12th and 14th centuries.

  • 2A native or inhabitant of the ancient Khmer kingdom.

    • ‘Around 1260 the kingdom of Sukhothai became independent from the Khmers and King Rama Khamheng declared Theravda the state religion.’
    • ‘This is a history of the Khmers, the people who for thousands of years inhabited the wooded interior of Cambodia.’
    • ‘Despite the loss of their capital, the Khmer counter-attacked and by 1432 had compelled the Thais to retire.’
    • ‘Other civilizations - the Khmer, Maya, Anasazi have also disappeared and resource over-exploitation is being suggested as a possible contributor in many cases.’
    • ‘The Khmer believed that the moon protects humans by at least dimly lighting up the night world by riding a silver chariot each night across the sky.’
    • ‘The two activities include a special tennis tournament and a tour in the lower northeastern region to learn about the civilization of Khmers in the old days.’
    • ‘From its capital at Angkor, the empire was to face no genuinely serious external challenges for almost 500 years and the influence of the Khmer can still be witnessed across much of modern-day Thailand.’
    • ‘In the absence of piling, the ancient Khmers often used sand to provide a homogeneous foundation for their structures.’
    • ‘The Egyptians, the Meso Americans, the Khmer - they were all influenced by earlier civilisations.’
  • 3A native or inhabitant of Cambodia.

    • ‘As a result, more than half of the Cambodian Communists and 4 of the 10 people who led the Khmers to victory in 1975, were also destroyed.’
    • ‘Many prostitutes are trafficked from Viet Nam, but most are ethnic Khmers, the majority race in Cambodia.’
    • ‘Along with age-old border disputes, this is a thorny issue for Khmers, and bodes ill for the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese living in Cambodia.’
    • ‘We Khmers are Buddhists and believe in the impermanent nature of things.’
    • ‘I quickly came to remember why the Khmer have a reputation for huge smiles.’
    • ‘Vietnam's minority population consists of Chinese, Khmers, and a variety of highland ethnic groups.’
    • ‘The Khmer saw the tracks of the truck, however, and decided to emerge from the jungle.’
    • ‘Of course it was the Burmese, not the Khmer, who successfully laid siege to and then sacked Ayutthaya in 1767.’
    • ‘While the driver hoisted our bags into the bed of the truck, the Khmers arranged them against one side and immediately sat on them, giving us just enough room to precariously perch ourselves around the edge.’
    • ‘A central plank of the plan was the return of 300,000 Khmer from the Thai border.’
    • ‘Christian converts returned from refugee camps and foreign countries, and Christianity has established a strong foothold among ethnic Khmers.’
    • ‘Eighty-four per cent of the population are ethnic Vietnamese, 2 per cent ethnic Chinese, and the remainder are Khmers, Chams, and members of some sixty ethno-linguistic groups each with its own language and culture.’
    • ‘Since the organization is based in America, not Thailand, the Khmers do not see this as a concession.’
  • 4[mass noun] The language of the Khmer, belonging to the Mon-Khmer family. It is the official language of Cambodia, spoken by about 7 million people.

    Also called cambodian
    • ‘‘Today I am very honored to have the chance to express my respect to President Hu and his wife,’ the prince said in Khmer at the outset of the meeting.’
    • ‘At one point I was called upon to amuse the crowd by displaying the Khmer that Kimtheng had taught me.’
    • ‘Cambodia sent a copy of the law in Khmer to the United Nations last weekend to keep them informed of the process, the government official said.’
    • ‘Proceedings will be conducted in Cambodia's official language Khmer with English, French and Russian translations.’
    • ‘Nimol sings in her native Khmer, and while she was making her Stateside living singing at Cambodian weddings, she was a star in her native country, often performing before the King and Queen.’
    • ‘The plan went through eight drafts but only the last was translated into Khmer, making it hard for many government officials and non-governmental organisations to comment on them.’
    • ‘Without being able to speak Khmer, there's only so much I can learn at first but still, I'm really looking forward to it.’
    • ‘The official language is Khmer, and French is the second most common language.’
    • ‘A special language, a mixture of Sanskrit and Khmer, was developed and used exclusively at the royal court while only members of the royal family were permitted to look directly at the monarch.’
    • ‘Many of the deportees were born in refugee camps in Thailand, have never been to Cambodia or left as babies, and do not speak Khmer.’
    • ‘Hundreds of Cambodian children are now learning the Koran in Arabic and Khmer.’
    • ‘The official language to be used at the courts will be Khmer, with English, French and Russian translations, the draft bill said.’
    • ‘Our companion, Sun Hean, chats in Khmer with a pregnant woman in a blue pantsuit.’
    • ‘According to the bill, the tribunal will be located in Phnom Penh and the proceedings conducted in Cambodia's official language Khmer, with English, French and Russian translations.’
    • ‘A woman speaking to me in Khmer soon approached.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the memorandum mentioned that the official working language for the trial will be Khmer, but that proceedings will be translated to English and French.’
    • ‘Thank you, I said, in my best Khmer, I'm a vegetarian.’
    • ‘It's over the past few hundred years that the Vietnamese have spread south out of the Red River Valley near Hanoi, at the expense of Khmer and a wide variety of smaller languages.’
    • ‘Only one of the 6 Lao group members spoke English and Khmer is not very close to Lao - so it was a bit tricky.’
    • ‘She could only speak Khmer, her Thai being worse than mine if that is possible.’


  • Relating to the Khmer or their language.

    • ‘The temple was constructed over a period of 30 years, and illustrates some of the most beautiful examples of Khmer and Hindu art.’
    • ‘By the end of the decade, Khmer nationalism began to reassert itself against the traditional Vietnamese enemy.’
    • ‘Siem Reap is the nearest town to the Khmer temple of Angkor Wat.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, because of the destruction of central government control and increasingly chaotic conditions, production of Khmer ceramics ceased by the end of 13th Century.’
    • ‘The Khmer language is taught at home and in the temples, but it is not permitted in any official business.’
    • ‘In the center of the red stripe is a white temple, representing the main temple of Angkor Wat, the capital city of the Khmer empire from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries.’
    • ‘The southern portion constituted the empire of the Cham, Champa, and part of the Khmer, or Cambodian, territory.’
    • ‘The pyramid appears to have elements of Egyptian, Mayan and Khmer design.’
    • ‘In turn hieratic and majestic, Khmer sculpture reflected the profound spirituality of the ancient Cambodian people, as well as their mastery of stone carrying and bronze casting.’
    • ‘It's more than the fact that she is Khmer, rather than Thai.’
    • ‘This is a multiple site of temples, temples and more temples, each built in a different style of architecture, ranging from classical Thai right through to Khmer and even Chinese.’
    • ‘From the fifth to the fifteenth centuries the dominant power in the area was the Khmer empire, in which various forms of Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism were popular.’
    • ‘In the 1990s there was a cultural revival among the Khmer in the northeast that included the formation of dance and music groups to promote Khmer culture.’
    • ‘Seat of the mighty Khmer Empire for over six centuries from AD 800, the city of Angkor is one of the world's cultural and architectural wonders.’
    • ‘Approximately 90 percent of the Cambodian population are ethnic Khmer.’
    • ‘In a Khmer text there are no spaces between words, instead spaces indicate the end of a clause or sentence.’
    • ‘It was worth it, as it is one of the most beautiful and important historic Khmer sites in Thailand.’
    • ‘Malay, Mon, and Khmer civilizations flourished in the region prior to the arrival of the ethnic Tai.’
    • ‘The Khmer script is still used in Cambodia, having evolved over more than a thousand years.’
    • ‘They have electricity only during the day, when sewing machines buzz in the craft centre and Khmer pop songs emanate from radios.’


The name in Khmer.