What is your stereotype of Katherine and Gwyneth?

Any thoughts of Katherine and Gwyneth? 


February 23, 2018 6:44 PM

I think Katherine has such a long and varied history, I don't have a lot stereotypes honestly. I mean, there are some famous people with the name, both contemporary and in various time periods, but I don't think any of them "own" the name. To me it feels like a white button down Oxford shirt- not creative but classic. The various nicknames can also take the name in very different directions. Katie is girl next door, Kate is short and sweet, Kathy is retro, Kat is a little arty. 

As for Gwyneth, the first thing I think of is Ms Paltrow, and her reputation of being somewhat snobby and following kooky health trends.  I don't think it's a bad thing and if I knew a young Gwyneth or Gwyn, I would get over it but right now I think that is the predominant association. 

February 24, 2018 10:04 AM

Exactly thisl

I only want to add that Ms Paltrow is only my association for the full Gwyneth or Gwenyth or Gweneth, and not for Gwen (or any of its spellings or names it could be short for). Gwen is surprisingly popular as a standalone name, too.

If one were interested in splitting the difference between Katherine and Gwyneth, I might also consider Gwendolyn, which is squarely between the two names for me, in being a more broad set of associations but more creative and character-filled than Katherine.

My last comment is that it's really surprising to me how alternate spellings for Gwyneth have persisted even in spite of the presence of a single, very prominent association bearing what I understand to be the traditional Welsh spelling. 





Other years Gwenneth and Gwynneth also show up, and occasionally Gwennyth and Gwynith too.

February 26, 2018 2:30 AM

Katherine for me is a classic name with a slightly posh imperious feel. Primary associations - Katherine the Great, Kate from The Taming of the Shrew, the Duchess of Cambridge, and my mother. Much like Elizabeth it is too common and classic to have a single overriding association, has many nickname options, and will age well.

My only significant association for Gwyneth is Paltrow, but I don't think that's a negative. I second Lucubratrix's suggestion of Gwendolyn as a name that carries characteristics of both names and sits in the middle stylistically. Also, I know a little girl named Gwynne and she wears it well.

A point of interest for my fellow name enthusiasts; growing up I knew a girl named Gwynedd, pronounced just like Gwyneth. I was told that was the Welsh spelling but I have no idea if that's true. Her brother was Dafydd, pronounced David.

February 26, 2018 4:39 AM

Lturtle is right I think— in Welsh dd makes the th sound, so I think Gwynedd might be the origina spelling?. I totally spaced on that until I saw gwynedd again — thanks for the catch! I think that spelling is a bold choice I’d only encourage with strong ties to Welsh culture, though— the Th seems like it would really improve the ease of reception.

By EVie
February 26, 2018 2:13 PM

I really like the Gwendolyn suggestion as well, and I'll add the alternate spellings of Gwendolen (which is actually the authentic Welsh spelling -- in Welsh names -yn is masculine, while -en is feminine), or Gwendoline, which comes closer to Katherine and will be more familiar these days thanks to Gwendoline Christie. 

I agree with all who have said Katherine is very much a blank slate -- though part of that is due to the nicknames that can take it in any direction. I know relatively few Katherines who go by the full name, so when one does, it tends to stand out a little more. I find the full Katherine very elegant, regal, serious and intelligent. Kate, which is the most common nickname I hear, is more flexible, but for me, it leans feisty, no-nonsense, doesn't put up with BS, down-to-earth, unpretentious. Katie is sweet, conventional, more child-like, but can span the range from gentle to spunky. Kat is more free-spirited and sassy. 

I knew a Gwyneth when I was younger that I didn't have trouble dissociating with Paltrow, so I don't think it's impossible once people have another association to pin it to, but in isolation, yeah, it's pretty strongly attached to her -- and while several years ago I would have said the association is pretty innocuous, lately the GOOP nonsense has started crossing all sorts of lines that make me think a lot less of her. 

February 23, 2018 7:55 PM

Katherine (in any spelling) is almost a neutral name to me as it has had such a long popular history.  Sarah and Elizabeth have similar neutral opinions.


I had a student Gwenyth and she owns the name for me, Ms. Paltrow annoys me at best, but is not a name killer.  I prefer Gwen to Gwenyth, but that's neither here nor there.

February 23, 2018 8:06 PM

Katherine is a classic name

Gwyneth is a nice name too,  had a friend at school with this name, Gwenda and Gwendaline are nice too or Guinevere

February 25, 2018 7:03 PM

Pretty much what everyone else has been saying, Ms. Paltrow for Gwyneth (although I love the name and definitely want more little Gwyneths!) and pretty neutral for Katherine. My first thought for Katherine is a red-headed, fair-skinned young woman because I happen to know several Katherines like that, but I also know Katherines who are African-American or older mom-aged.

By mk
February 26, 2018 1:21 PM

They are both neutral for me. I know tons of Katherines. I don't pay attention to Gwyneth Paltrow, so the asosciation is not that strong.

February 26, 2018 5:08 PM

I agree, Katherine is pretty neutral. My association for Gwyneth is about 50% Ms. Paltrow (that's a pretty neutral association for me) and 50% just solidly Welsh/British. That does mean I'd be a little more surprised to meet a Gwyneth of color (or even an Eastern European Gwyneth), whereas I've known Katherines of varying races and ethnicities. However, I don't think that it needs to be limited to folks with Welsh heritage, and I'm sure any little Gwyneth I met would quickly come to dominate my associations.