Catherine Name Meaning & Origin


Pronunciation: KA-thrin, KA-thə-rin (key)

Origin of the name Catherine:

English cognate of the Greek Aikaterinē, which is derived from katharos (pure, unsullied). Catherine has remained a perennially popular name and has been borne by many saints and members of European nobility. Var: Catharine, Cathryn.

From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.

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US Popularity of Catherine Over Time

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Comments and insights on the name Catherine

Three of King Henry VIII's wives were named Catherine. The name has always been somewhat popular, though more so in the middle ages than now, but expect it to gain some in popularity now that Catherine Middleton is the wife of Prince William and will likely be a future queen of England.

Every matriarch in my family is named Catherine. One goes by Cece, one goes by Tahtah, one is Teetah, and the fourth one went by Catherine. She died of cancer this year at 34 so I'm naming of my twins Catherine. For middle names, I'm thinking Agnes after another family member.

Personally, I think the version spelled C-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E is the most beautiful and mature. Kathryn, Katharine, and Cathryn just don't measure up.

I LOVE Katherine/Catherine, both of them, and plan to name my firstborn daughter one of them. But, I can't decide which I like better! I'm leaning towards the K, but my husband's name is French, and my mother says Catherine with a C is more French. I also like Kate/Cate and would go with either spelling, but Kate is more common and recognized. Have NEVER liked Kathy or Cathy. I think it's strange when Catherines spell their nickname, "Kate", as Kate Middleton does. But, I love how royal the name is, so classic, so timeless...

Catherine is absolutely my favorite spelling of this name! I love how long it is, and the gorgeous nickname Kate.

Personal experiences with the name Catherine

My daughter's name is Catherine (2). We get a ton of compliments on it and call her by the full Catherine. We know a ton of girls that go by Kate or Katie, and we don't know any others that use the "C" spelling. I took some grief with the C because I am Greek, and the Greeks like the "K", but I personally think that the "C" is a much softer, feminine spelling. This is a lovely, timeless name that will take her anywhere she wants to go in life!

Catherine was my mother's name, and I think it's a beautiful name that will never go out of style.

My mother's name also, and I totally agree with the above.

However, in Anne of Green Gables, Anne famously supports the "Katherine with a K" spelling over the "Catherine with a C." It's a surprisingly influential opinion and you're sure to meet a number of people who cite her and her logic on this matter.

My name is Catherine, and I have always loved it, and you can get so many nicknames from it! I got Katie as a child, Cat as a teenager and now I am an adult I get Cate.

My name is Catherine and I HATED it for 20 years. I wanted people to call me Kate, but everyone called me Cath or Caff (hate that even more). It's only in the last couple of years that it finally grew on me and I can actually now say that I love the name Catherine. I think it's elegant and royal and I'm even considering passing it onto my future daughter as a first name.

My grandmother was called Catherine, often known as 'Kate'. It's a typical girls name and suits anyone and any age.

My friend Catherine says she always gets called Caroline. My name is Caroline and people constantly call me Catherine. I don't think the two names are that similar but apparently people confuse them all the time.

My name is Catherine, and, for the most part, I like it (I also get called Caroline a lot! This annoys me to no end, because I don't particularly like Caroline.). I am in high school, so people are surprised I am just Catherine instead of Cate or Catie, because almost no girls my age named Catherine still go by that. But, I'm glad I go by Catherine because it makes my unique- there are 4 Katies and 3 Kates in my class, and my class is relatively small! All of their real names are Katherine, but I am the only one that goes by Catherine. I also love my C instead of a K because it also sets me apart. Although it is a pain sometimes because people automatically assume my name is Katherine- but I still wouldn't ever want it with a K. Just from an outsider's point of view, I'm not a huge fan of Catherine just as a name (but I actually rather like Cate and Catie!). However, I love Catherine for me, even though its spelling can be annoying sometimes. Catherine fits my personality much better than Cate or Catie. I wouldn't change my name for the world.

I have never ever heard that Catherine was mixed up with Caroline, and vice versa! So surprising! My 18 year old niece is named Caroline, and I'll have to ask her if she's ever called Catherine. I've only heard her complain about being called Carolyn.

I'm a Catherine and I have always loved it. I don't usually shorten it but I do get called Cat or Cath or other variations sometimes. I've also been called both Caroline and Christine. I guess people see the C....ine and just think they're interchangeable?! I always thought that Catherine with a C was the more common form but if I ever have to tell people my name, if I don't spell it out, they always assume K so I'm getting more used to saying "Catherine with a C" now!

hi, my name is Catherine and I'm a filipino. My full name is only consists of 2 words. My name and my surname which makes my name short but with the name Catherine it became very looooong. Back when I was in Grade 7 I really want to change my name into Cathy, I even changed my sns's names into Cathy. Somewhat my classmates calls me with my full name and the others calls me as Cathy. In the class we have 2Cat/Kats, Me myself and Katrina, whenever they call me Cath she looks as if she's the one who have been called, when someone calls her Kat, I will look. AND IT IS SO FRUSTRATING!!!!! but now I really love my name. It sounds royal as I've read above. I would like to name my Daughter Catherine too but I love Caelin for her. I WANT CAELIN TO BE MY NAME TOOOOO!!!!!

Nicknames for Catherine

Kate, Cate, Cake, Kat, Cat, Cece, Kit, Kit-Kat, Kitty, Cathi, Kathy, Cathy, Cath, Kath, Kathie, Cathie, Katie, Catie, Caty, Katydid, Kay, Wren/ Rin, Caff, Tift, Trine, (I would love to include Raine, Cathe - rine, Cathy Raine. For it to make magical)

Meanings and history of the name Catherine

Catherine's most commonly accepted meaning is "pure," coming from the the Greek word "katharos," meaning "pure." There are other theories however, as Catherine's origins are not 100% certain, including another Greek word, "aikaterine," of unknown meaning, the possible origin from the Greek goddess Hecate, goddess of magic, and the Armenian word "Gadarine," meaning "she is the summit."

Famous real-life people named Catherine

Catherine Bell, American actress
Catherine "Cate" Blanchett, Australian actress
Catherine "Kate" Bosworth, American actress
Catherine Deneuve, French actress
Catherine Keener, American actress
Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
Catherine Oxenberg, American actress
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Welsh actress
Catherine "Tift" Merritt, American singer
Catherine West, that one girl Justin always texts and dreams about
Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife
Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife
Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife

Catherine in song, story & screen

Catherine Earnshaw "Cathy", and her daughter Catherine Linton, characters in the classic novel "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë.
Catherine Trammell, protagonist of the film "Basic Instinct"
Lady Catherine de Burgh, in Pride & Prejudice
Catherine Chandler, main character in the 1980s TV series "Beauty and the Beast", played by Linda Hamilton
"Catherine", novel by William Makepeace Thackeray
Catherine "Kitty" Bennet, youngest sister of Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen's novel "Pride and Prejudice".
"Catherine", a novella written by Jane Austen during her teenaged years.
A Catherine wheel is a type of wheel-shaped firework, named after St. Catherine of Alexandria, who legend says was tortured on a spiked wheel.
Catherine Lightfoot (Richard Hammond's girlfriend in Top Gear)
Catherine, the sister of Myrtle Wilson in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"
Catherine Barkley, the love interest of "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway
Catherine 'Cathy' Dollanganger from the Dollanganger Saga by V. C. Andrews
Catherine April North Webb, Justin Alfred Pennyworth's "Bae" (Long Loving Wife) and assistant manager for the MLA in the movie "Where is Like Lemons"

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