Celebrity vs. Fashion: The Kate Middleton Baby Name Effect

Dec 2nd 2010

The upcoming royal wedding in England has stirred up flurries of talk around the classic nickname Kate. The first headline-grabber was Kate Middleton's prenuptial shift to Catherine. (Good luck making that change stick, Ms. Middleton.) Now, the name speculation has moved to the broader English name landscape.

Genealogy website Ancestry.co.uk analyzed U.K. birth records from past royal wedding years and found consistent popularity spikes for the princess names. This makes plenty of sense. What better public platform could a baby name have? The Ancestry team felt so confident in the power of the princess effect that they made a bold prediction. Based on the historical trend, Kate is "likely to be [Britain's] number one girl’s name in 2011."

The prediction has history, celebrity and the global media industry on its side. Putting an attractive name on the news 24/7 generally makes it rise, as we've seen with hurricane names.

But facing off in the opposite corner is a formidable foe: fashion. The problem is that in England, Kate has already come and gone. The given name Kate was a steady, top-100 English favorite in the early 1900s. It fell out of fashion for several decades then reemerged in the 1970s, peaked in the '80s and began a slow fade in the '90s. By now Kate's been out of the U.K. top 100 list for years.

That makes 28-year-old Kate Middleton the typical Kate. In other words, the name may be a classic, but it's a mom name.

If you're American, you probably can't hear the mom-ness because Kate is more current on this side of the pond -- it hit its U.S. peak in 2007. For an American name with a curve similar to the U.K. Kate, think Amy or Angela. Or for a celebrity parallel, think Michelle. Michelle Obama becoming First Lady of the United States had zero effect on the name Michelle; her name says "First Mom." Is Britain's royalty culture strong enough to chart a different path?


p.s. Look for the Name of the Year announcement next week! It's shaping up to be a doozy.


December 2, 2010 6:38 PM

Perhaps a princess has a bit more panache than the first lady? I think Catherine has a better chance of becoming the popular choice.

On a side note, I was just surfing names, looking up the name Wesley. I was very surprised to find it is an very steady name. Compared to most names its graph is almost flat. Has anyone noticed other names like this? It seems almost immune to fashion.

December 2, 2010 8:30 PM

"Compared to most names its graph is almost flat. Has anyone noticed other names like this?"

I have! :-)

It's been 5 years, since I wrote that, though. Might be time to revisit and see what has changed.

December 2, 2010 8:48 PM

Site has been unavailable to me for the past day and a half. Nice to be back.

From the last thread-Lorenzo is a great name congrats!

From this thread, I agree that Kate will not have the rise that others are expecting and will experience a similar reaction as the name Michelle did. I think?? that there was more of an uprise in Malia and Sasha than Michelle. I am sure that when a little one comes to the royal pair there will be more of an uprise than the name Kate OR Catherine.

December 2, 2010 8:55 PM

Laura is saying that Kate is more likely to rise in the US than in Britain, right? I can't speak for Britain, but based on our discussion of NOTY, it seems Kate is definitely on the radar in the US!

Speaking of NOTY, so excited for next post!

December 2, 2010 9:03 PM

Very sorry for the site problems, btw. A LiveScience article on my "baby name entropy" analysis...
...hit the front page of Yahoo, bringing in a vast flood of visitors just as we were setting up a new server configuration! It's never dull here in baby name land.

By Angela E H (not verified)
December 2, 2010 10:25 PM

Aw, my name is Angela, and I'm not a mom! I'm 17! But speaking about the topic at hand, I just can't see any name jumping up 100 spots in one year.. or even three! I think Kate will rise, but not SO dramatically.

By knp-nli (not verified)
December 2, 2010 10:54 PM

I did notice the article, Laura! (I saw in at cnn.com) In fact, I wanted to post a congrats on here, but couldn't! I was excited to see your even and thoughtful observations make it to the "mainstream news"! Way to go!!!

I agree that Kate is very unlikely to become #1 in England. It will spike, but not become #1. Likewise in the US.

By Irina (not verified)
December 3, 2010 1:54 AM

In the Netherlands Wesley had a brief spate of popularity because of soccer player Wesley Sneijder; most Wesleys I know are now just/almost in high school, but I probably don't know any younger ones because my own kids are in high school too.

By summerlee (not verified)
December 3, 2010 2:12 AM

I love the name Kate, but I don't think it will rise much in Britain, but I definitely seeing it rising in the US.

Question: I'm expecting and we don't yet know the gender, but of course I'm already mulling over names. We already have a boy name picked out, but a girl is up in the air.
I've liked the name Gemma for sometime, but I like to give my girls names that can be shortened. I've looked it up, but I can't find any longer names that could conceivably have Gemma as a nickname. Any suggestions? I did think of Jemima, but that reminds me too much of the syrup.

By Keren not signed in (not verified)
December 3, 2010 3:38 AM

Kate is a bit of a mum name in the UK, but Katie was going strong in North London when we named our daughter 14 years ago - might have faded out a bit now. And I know at least three pre-school girls called Kitty. Here in the UK we're keen on diminutives ending in ie or y - for girls or boys.

By Kate or sometimes Katy (not verified)
December 3, 2010 6:31 AM

Growing up as a Kate in Australia, it wasn't that common a name... nor is it now in the UK where I live (I'm late 30's). However there are zillions of Katies! I often like to be Katy but no-one EVER spells it with a Y.

I figure the spelling of diminutives should follow from the name, so I'm Kathryn = Katy and C/Katherines should be = Katie. Makes sense to me but I have precious little luck convincing everyone else!

Princess Kate has a nice ring to it :-)

December 3, 2010 8:54 AM

Katie is the #1 name of the past decade in Northern Ireland and is in the top 10 in the Republic of Ireland and in Scotland. I realize that it's a different name than Kate, but I think the feeling/mood is similar (in a way that Catherine isn't). Some possibilities for Kate to rub off on parents who might consider the very popular Katie?

I have a college-age student whose name is Katharine but goes by Kathy; it sounds like a 60-year-old woman to me.

December 3, 2010 9:12 AM

Laura-Thanks for the explanation and congrats on the article.

summerlee-If you like Gemma, could you also consider Jenna? The names that come to mind for shortening these would be Imogene, Eugenia, or something along the lines of a Jennalee, Gemmaleigh or some other combo name. Best wishes!

December 3, 2010 9:28 AM

Considering William and Kate didn't even announce their engagement until November, I think it's ridiculous to think that Kate would be the #1 name of 2010.

On the subject of princess names, I do think Diana Catherine is lovely.

By Amy3
December 3, 2010 1:54 PM

@Elizabeth T, I think they were projecting it to be #1 in 2011.

While I think the royal wedding will certainly boost the name, I suspect Laura is right in thinking the effect will be minor, at least in the UK. It's so hard to overcome that "mom name" aspect. I'm sure it will also enjoy a rise in the US, but I'd be surprised if it were a big one.

All that said, I'm a big C/Katherine fan. The K version is my daughter's middle (named for 2 great grandmothers, one of whom was Catherine called Katie). It's a timeless classic so it wears well and definitely sounds less dated (to my American ears) than Amy or Michelle.

December 3, 2010 10:13 AM

Congrats on the article Laura! It made me realize that it is this message parents are sending by their name choices (no matter what they choose) that makes odd sibsets so unsettling - they are sending off mix messages.

Love the discussion of Kate. As many of you know I named my daughter Katharine 2 years ago with the intent of calling her Kate. She mostly goes by Katie. Since then I've wondered if Kate/Katie is either too popular, too close to all the Kaylees (no offense intended), or too much of a mom's name. We've toyed with calling her Kit but it's been hard to adjust to a switch of nicknames. Interestingly my hubby favored the C spelling of Catherine but since I wanted a Kate with a K we spelled Katharine with a K.

By another amy (not verified)
December 3, 2010 10:26 AM

regarding Wesley-there are 2 Wesleys in Kindergarten this year at my daughter's school (along with a whole host of Henrys and Alexes and Thomases--and even a Ramses-- which seem much less unexpected). When I met the first one I thought, really? Wesley? that was what people named kids back in the 70s!

December 3, 2010 10:47 AM

Oops, you're right, Amy3. Kate Middleton has been in the public eye for seven years, however. No matter how exciting the story of her rise to princess status, I think that she would have already given the name a bump if she were going to.

December 3, 2010 11:43 AM

I love Catherine, and Kate (though I think Cate is better for Catherine), but the sheer number of Kathys, Kates, and Katies in my life (in a wide range of ages and spellings) keep me from ever, ever using it.

Like others, I imagine the royal wedding will have some impact on Kate, but I think Catherine will have the bigger bump. Then parents can use the now-trendy (across the pond) nickname for the classic (that never really goes out of style). Someone mentioned that it is Kitty. Can anyone confirm?

By KristinFromSC (not signed in) (not verified)
December 3, 2010 2:01 PM

summerlee: It's a bit of a stretch but Gemma could be a nn for Genevieve.

Re Wesley: In middle school I was a big Star Trek geek and so Wesley always makes me think of Wesley Crusher. Incidentally, the character was named after series creator Gene Roddenberry whose middle name was Wesley.

re Kate: I agree that it's too recent and regular and mom-ish to see a huge surge. A slight swell in the name is likely but I think that will be all. Depending on the name they choose, it might be a very different story when they begin their family, however.

By Bue nli (not verified)
December 3, 2010 2:39 PM

I seem to be the only one who disagrees that Kate is a 'mom name' over here. Yes, most are probably in their 30s, and yes, baby girls are now more likely to be called Katie (a very hot name), but I would still class Kate as a modern British classic. It's also a very common middle name for girls here. But I agree the spike will be for Catherine, not Kate as a standalone name.

Re: the switch to Catherine, when the engagement photo op started (I was home that day and watching live), the first question was what she preferred to be called. She said that she doesn't mind either but her family call her Catherine. William called her Kate throughout their joint interview though. The BBC commentators were trying on Catherine for size that day but everyone in the media has since swapped back to Kate!

By DeborahC (not verified)
December 3, 2010 4:43 PM

Where I am in Australia, a Kate/Cate/Cait under 20 is more likely to be a Caitlin/Katelyn than a Catherine. Those who assume Catherine is the source might be thinking it is more popular than it actually is.

December 3, 2010 6:26 PM

I am not thinking a rise in the nn Kitty will happen over here in the US. I just think it sounds more like a pets name than anything else. I know it was used a number of years ago but it seems to not be in fashion these days. However, with the "old fashioned" names like Hazel/Mabel and the like coming back, maybe it will. Who knows?

By Abs (not verified)
December 3, 2010 7:09 PM

Hi everyone!

I'm a long-time lurker, rare poster. I'm pregnant and my husband and I have started talking about names. We have different styles. I like classic but not-too-popular names that aren't "date-stamped" (basically, I seem to have the same style as most posters here). Boys' names I like are Thomas, Peter, Charles, James, Julian, Simon, Solomon, etc. My husband likes names that don't sound too old-fashioned, nerdy, or weak. He likes things like Tyler, Maximus, Rocco, Quinton.

We managed to agree on a girl's name - Nora. I like it if we give the full name Eleanor because it's such a classic name, and he likes it because of the catchy sound.

For a boy, we've been playing with Laura's fancy new tools. We found 3 names we kind of agree on: Ari, Everett, and Abram. The middle name will probably be Wil, after a family member (Wilfred). Our last name is one syllable, starts with a K -- think something like Kohls.

I'd be very interested to know your thoughts on these names or other suggestions for boys' names!

December 3, 2010 10:10 PM

I think most parents consider Kate and Katie as nicknames, not full names in their own right - at least here in North America. Even if US parents decide they want to name their daughter Kate after the new princess, they're most likely to put Catherine/Katherine or Katelyn/Kaitlyn on the birth certificate. A spike in newborn Kates in a published baby name list would probably indicate a growing acceptance of nicknames as full names, more than it would the popularity of Kate Middleton (or Kate Gosselin, perish the thought).

I agree with those who suggested that Catherine, not Kate, is the name to watch (again, in North America - not sure about the UK or elsewhere!). Check out the NameVoyager for Katherine and Catherine. Katherine has been pretty steadily popular through the 20th century, peaking in the 1990's. Catherine peaked 100 years ago and has been in steady decline since the 50's, and steep decline over the past decade, slipping from #86 in the 90's to #177 now. Probably parents avoid the C spelling because they prefer the nickname Katie, and Catherine is more associated with the very baby-boomer era Cathy. But now... with a Catherine/Kate so much in the public eye, I think a lot of parents considering Katherine/Kate will look again at the C spelling. It seems a bit fresher and more distinctive. I'll watch for a big dip in Katherines and a modest (but not enormous) bounceback for Catherine in 2010 and 2011.

On the other hand - the British Royal Family haven't had much influence at all on American naming trends for quite a while now... we certainly aren't overrun with children called Harry, Beatrice or Louise!

By guesty (not verified)
December 3, 2010 11:47 PM

Hasn't Kate peaked already in the US? It has to be the most overdone name around. My only hope is that "Catherine" will become the favored full name over the various permutations on Caitlin.

By Kate45456 (not verified)
December 4, 2010 1:54 AM

My full name is Kate, and I am in high school. I actually know more Kate's just in my grade than I all adult Kates I have met.

By Rjoy (not verified)
December 4, 2010 2:09 AM

I also have to disagree that Kate won't rise. Just yesterday a friend said they are going to name their little gilr Mary Catherine and call her Cate. I know that is not the same but it is just a "sign" that it is still out there.

I also know several little Kate's born in recent years in CA and I think it is still rising.

The name Kate reminds me of Meg Ryan in the movie French Kiss. So, it definitely doesn't have a mom ring in it to me. Just a cute, spunky girl.

I read the last post but didn't get a chance to post so I will do it here.
Along the lines of names from long ago I know a family with old time names mixed in. (I hope I didn't post this already) ...pregnant brain.

Mia (Ameli@0





I capitalized the oldy but goody names. When I first met them I was taken back but it adds a nice fresh sound to the mix.

By Rjoy (not verified)
December 4, 2010 2:13 AM

Also, does anyone else ever feel that because they are always so into names, that when it does come down to naming a child, that nothing sounds new or fresh?

By kmac (not verified)
December 4, 2010 3:07 AM

I'm hoping someone can help me -- cause if anyone can it'd be one of you all :) And sorry this is off-topic.

Our list of baby names that we loved (not expecting, just planning for sometime hopefully not terribly far away) that we agreed on (and there were VERY few on there!) was lost when my harddrive crashed a few weeks ago :(

I found a name on here a month or so ago using the namipedia that I loved --I think it came up as a 'sibling' name for another name I was looking up. It must have been after a LOT of clicking around though -- I put in all the names I know we both like and still can't figure out what this one name was. It was a girl's name, I THINK it was 2 syllables. I feel like it started with either and F or T, leaning towards F. I believe that the name was actually a noun, and under the section for famous people with that name, I think the only thing that came up was that there's a popular mommy blogger with a daughter with it. I looked at the blog and the daughter was maybe 2 or 3 and I think she was an only child. This is driving me nuts! I've even looked up lists of popular Mommy Blogs to see if I could figure it out that way, but nothing. If anyone could help me I'd be SUPER grateful!! Thanks so much!

By kmac (not verified)
December 4, 2010 3:08 AM

I should also add re: my search for what this name while I know the name is a 'word' I've never heard it as a name before.

By Kerry- nli (not verified)
December 4, 2010 3:39 AM



She is the daughter of the blogger at GirlsGoneChild. Not an only child, but fits all your other criteria. (Her brother is Archer.)

I first heard it on that blog and really like it. Unexpected but totally reasonable for a noun-name and has the possibility of the traditional (and cute) Faye as a nickname. As a sibset with Archer it gives off a subtle woodland/nature/fairy vibe (to me at least.)


December 4, 2010 3:43 AM

@abs - I like Eleanor (Nora) with your surname. As for your boy choices I think I like Abram the best, although that is because I'm fond of the nickname Bram! I also think Everett goes well with the middle and last name. For some reason Ari is not really doing it for me.

Other random suggestions (may not at all be your style):

Leo (maybe with a longer name like Leonard or Leopold)

December 4, 2010 3:45 AM

I was at a dance concert today for friends and the kids were aged 3-18 (mostly girls). There were a lot of the usual name repeats: Isabella, Sophie, Olivia etc but there were 2 Elodie's!! I have never come across 1 before let alone 2. I wish I had of picked up a program because there were a lot of interesting names in there and I've forgotten them all now.

By Kerry- nli (not verified)
December 4, 2010 3:46 AM



She is the daughter of the blogger at GirlsGoneChild. Not an only child, but fits all your other criteria. (Her brother is Archer.)

I first heard it on that blog and really like it. Unexpected but totally reasonable for a noun-name and has the possibility of the traditional (and cute) Faye as a nickname. As a sibset with Archer it gives off a subtle woodland/nature/fairy vibe (to me at least.)


By ER (not verified)
December 4, 2010 7:06 AM

As a Briton, I don't consider Kate to be a mom name. Catherine/Katherine is an old classic and there are plenty of them of all ages.

December 4, 2010 10:06 AM

abs-I like Eleanor and also Nora. I'm one that thinks the name Nora is fine as a stand alone name as well. For a boy to match that I think Everett fits very well.

kmac-I don't know what the name you were looking for is, but a name with heavy F/T sounds that comes to mind is Felicity. However, it is an American Girl name and a TV show so probably not on your radar. Kerry's mention of Fable is kind of cute though.

December 4, 2010 10:32 AM

I have to admit this completely goes against what I'm seeing on NameVoyager, but from the feel of the name Katherine/Katharine/Catherine, I can see it rising as a uniquely classic, but not too popular name (tm the discussion on Pottery Barn catalogues). That's definitely my style and I would have loved to have a DD Katherine/Kate...interestingly, I can't, because my husband has an Aunt Kathy and a cousin Kate (Kate is, I assume, named after Kathy, who is also her aunt), which means there were two Katherines in the previous two generations.

The fact that the name is falling, not rising, makes it ideal for me! Alas, every other name I love, (like future DD Lucy) is slowly rising.

December 4, 2010 12:17 PM

I'm not sure why you'd want your daughter to have a name that's falling in popularity, rather than a name that's rising...

Choosing a name that's rising in popularity means most of those that share your daughter's name will be younger - and as an adult, she'll appreciate that name's more youthful image. Choosing a name that's past its peak means she'll share her name with mainly older women, and the name will age her.

I know a lady named Jennifer who must be close to 60, and the name suits her well - it sounds bright and youthful amongst all the Barbs and Pats and Sues. However I doubt that most 20-something Jennifers feel the same way.

By kmac (not verified)
December 4, 2010 3:30 PM

thank you Kerry, it WAS Fable -- it actually occurred to me this AM!! And it's funny that you mentioned Archer w/ it b/c I had completely forgotten that name was on our list for a boy, and looking that up was what led me to Fable! You're right that the combo does have a fairy-tale kinda quality to it.

My other favorite names at this point are Seraphina for a girl and Canaan for a boy. My fiancee is Oliver, and, as we are both 29, he never knew any other Olivers growing up and loved that he had a name that wasn't *unusual* per se but that you definitely didn't hear often. So he's REALLY picky about names, which is a little annoying on my end. (And actually kind of funny b/c he says he's always thought of having a daughter named 'Olivia' after him for a girl... being a guy and knowing really nothing about baby names, he had no idea how popular that is.) Like him, I like names that are not popular but not, well, made-up, either, but as a 'Bethany' (never had another one in any of my classes when I was little, but there was always another one or two in the school overall) I see the value in a name that's not common but you won't be the only one you ever meet.

Anyway, thanks again for your help, Kerry!

December 4, 2010 6:40 PM

@kmac, I quite like Fable. Seraphina is nice for a girl too!

December 5, 2010 8:01 AM

kmac: Olivia makes a lovely middle name, especially for a more unusual name like Fable.

Ayaka: On the other hand, maybe seeming older would help with things like job applications (seeming more experienced).

By Newby (not verified)
December 5, 2010 5:39 PM

I'm expecting in 4 months. Our top 2 names right now for our baby girl are:

Katherine Jane ("Kate")
Evelyn Jane ("Evie")

I'd appreciate thoughts on the pros/cons of Katherine v. Evelyn for a 2011 baby.

December 5, 2010 6:38 PM

Of interest in today's NYTimes:


By knp-nli (not verified)
December 5, 2010 6:50 PM

Newby: I love Evie! I have a Latvian friend Ieva, who goes by Ievie too. Her spelling is definitely unique, but it has shown how the name works for all ages-- she is about 65. In general, I'd go for Evelyn, but I think both are great choices. Kate/Katherine is really really classic, Evelyn is less so (maybe a bit more "trendier"??? thoughts?). But, I like the nickname much better with Evelyn. And, I use 3 syllables on Evelyn and 2 with Katherine, and I think the 3-1 combo Evelyn Jane is lovely

December 5, 2010 11:12 PM

Newby, I like both Katherine and Evelyn. Evelyn and particularly 'Evie' are getting very trendy in my area. I know of quite a lot of Evelyn/Eve/Eva/Evies and most of the them go by the nickname Evie. It's not shooting up the charts but has a trendier vibe than the classic Kate/Katherine.

December 5, 2010 11:16 PM

quick question for Laura - I've tried to sign up for the expert tools and as I'm not in the US or Canada (I'm in Australia) I can't fill in the required fields of the information form. Can you please fix this to allow your international NE's to join the expert edition?

December 6, 2010 12:06 AM

Newby: I prefer Evelyn as it seems a bit more unusual than Katherine, but I think I prefer Kate to Evie! I think I like the simplicity of Kate.

December 6, 2010 5:08 AM

Rjoy, The names that have been in discussion since planning for kids became more serious haven't gotten stale for me. I expected they might, but it hasn't happened yet. It helps that I tend to like exotic names to start with, so the names on our list are not ones I've ever encountered on actual people (that I've met in person, anyway). The other thing is that I have sought out books featuring characters with the names on our list - with the intent of seeing what it's like living with the name for a week while I read the book. As a side benefit, that has really freshened up names and given me new perspectives on them. It has really won me over to names on the Spouse's list that I wasn't entirely sure about.

I do know that we'll have the least dramatic time ever choosing the names for our future children, which is a bit of a let down because it was so much fun hashing out the possibilities with child #1. As a side effect of some testing we did for other reasons, we'll even know the sex right away for future pregnancies... so I think we'll probably just spend a ridiculously long time debating middle names, just to have something to do. :)

My name list has definitely evolved over the past dozen years, as I became more aware of trends (e.g. that Tristan is now being used as a girl's name, which sort of ruined its mythic hero appeal for me). But generally, for the most part I still see the appeal of names now stricken from the list, even if I feel like I can no longer use them for various reasons (used in circle of friends, etc). The only one that makes me wonder "What on earth was I THINKING?" is Hayden, which had a brief stint on my list in 2002... I really can't figure out WHY, since I'm generally not a fan of surnames as first names, and I am so very tired of Aiden-related names now.

I have noticed that my name tastes have definitely veered towards the exotic as compared to 5 or 10 years ago... in part because of child #1 influencing the universe of names for subsequent children, in part because I started teaching and was thus exposed to a LOT of names each year. The biggest contributor though is that we settled down someplace where very old-fashioned, adventurous naming is very much "in." Names that we once dismissed as ones we "probably couldn't get away with" suddenly seemed much more feasible once we learned the names of the kids our children will be going to school with. :)

December 6, 2010 5:31 AM

On the Evelyn vs Katherine decision:

How are you pronouncing Evelyn: EEV-lin or EHV-uh-lin? And how are you pronouncing Evie the nickname? I've more often heard it as EEV-ie, although I suppose Evie could just as well be EHV-ie (rhymes with Chevvy or Levy).

Evelyn still has a touch of the male for me, thanks to Evelyn Waugh. Side note: he married a female Evelyn, and the couple were known as He-Evelyn and She-Evelyn among their friends, which greatly amuses me. I don't think that should actually enter into consideration because only NEs would even know of He-Evelyns. During the last decade, the number of boys named Evelyn is less than a dozen during the years that it is even listed by the SSA, as compared to thousands of girls.

Evelyn strikes me as a more edgy, fashionable name, and as such I think it makes a nicer match with Jane. I agree that it's more poised for takeoff with the very on-trend "lyn" ending and high-scrabble V. The pronunciation is unlikely to matter if you pick the standard one for your country (EEV-lin in UK, EHV-uh-lin in the US), though Evie is more ambiguous. Its edgy, art-deco vibe is a bit more my style. Also, you get a bonus name of "Eve" - I get that people don't feel comfortable using it due to the biblical connotation, but Evelyn is enough it's own name that it shouldn't be a burden, but you can still use Eve as a nickname.

Katherine has a lot of different established spelling variants - Katharine, Catherine, Kathryn, etc... so I would expect to do a lot of specifying which it is. It is very much a timeless classic that I do not think will experience any major popularity shifts anytime soon, especially combining all the variants. To me its strength is the range of nickname choices - Kate, Kat, Kitty, Kathy. The latter actually doesn't remind me of a 60-year-old so much as Wuthering Heights: "O, Cathy!" "O, Heathcliff!" If it were my name, I'd probably go by Kathy for its swoonworthy associations, because did I ever enjoy Wuthering Heights in the 8th grade!

(And Katie, to be fair, but I'm a bit overinundated with that variant. I see it SO often among my students, and combined with the myriad Kaylees and Kaylas it gets to be a bit much. Kate is much crisper and fresher to my ears.)