Katherine, also spelled Catherine and other variations, is a feminine given name. The name and its variants are popular in countries where large Christian populations exist, because of its associations with one of the earliest Christian saints, Catherine of Alexandria.[1]

Carlo Crivelli 014.jpg
Catherine of Alexandria, by Carlo Crivelli. The name Catherine became famous in Christian communities because of this early saint.
Other names
Nickname(s)Kaight, Kate, Kath, Cat, Catt, Cate, Catey, Cath, Catie, Cayte, Kathy, Kathie, Kathi, Katie, Katey, Katy, Kay, Kat, Katya, Katyusha, Kati, Kit, Kitty, Kasia, Cathy, Cathie, Kizzy
Related names

In the early Christian era it came to be associated with the Greek adjective καθαρός (katharos), meaning 'pure'. This influenced the name's English spelling, giving rise to variants Katharine and Catharine. The spelling with a middle 'a', was more common in the past. Katherine, with a middle 'e', was first recorded in England in 1196 after being brought back from the Crusades.[1]

Popularity and variationsEdit

Anglophone useEdit

In Britain and America, Catherine and its variants have been among the 100 most popular names since 1880. Amongst the most common variants are Katherine and Kathryn. The spelling Catherine is common in both English and French. Less-common variants in English include Katharine, Catharine, Cathryn, Katheryn, Katharyn, Kathryne, Katheryne, Katherin, and Kathrine.[2][3][4][5]

Diminutives include: Katie, Katy, Kate, Kathy, Kathe, Kath, Kay, Kat, Katja or Katya, Kota, Katyusha, Katrya, Kitty, Kit, Kasia; many of these are also sometimes given as independent names.[1]

Kathleen or Cathleen, Anglicized forms of the Irish Caitlín, have become established in the US among people with no Irish background, but is less popular in England and Wales. The form Karen, of Danish origin, is now often considered an independent name in English.[1]

Language variantsEdit

The following is a list of various forms of the name Katherine, all ultimately associated with a common Greek-language origin of uncertain meaning but influenced by the Ancient Greek: καθαρός, 'pure'. These forms are in use as a given name in the language noted, or were formerly. The list includes short or pet forms (hypocorisms), associated with Katherine or one of its variants:

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Withycombe, E. G. (1976). The Concise Dictionary of English Christian Names (3rd ed.). London: Omega Books. ISBN 1-85007-059-8.
  2. ^ Historical popularity statistics for United States
    • "Top Names Over the Last 100 Years: 1922-2021". United States Social Security Administration. United States Government. Archived from the original on 13 April 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2023.
    • "Top Names Over the Last 100 Years 1912−2011". United States Social Security Administration. United States Government. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2023.
      • For names given to girls 1912–2011, ranking positions were: Kathleen (33rd), Catherine (40th), Katherine (42nd), Kathryn (72nd).
      • For the 100 years 1922–2021, ranking of the same names were: Kathleen (31st), Katherine (42nd), Catherine (48th), Kathryn (76th).
    The spelling variants Katharine and Catharine (with a middle 'a') did not appear in the top 100 for the time period 1912–2021.
  3. ^ Recent (21st century) popularity statistics for United States―name variant with (rank) shown in brackets:
    • United States Social Security Administration. "Popular Baby Names". Retrieved 17 April 2023.
        • 2001: Katherine (35)
        • Catherine (81)
        • Kathryn (97)
        • Kathleen (237)
        • Kathy (716)
        • Katharine (728)
        • 2011: Katherine (61)
        • Catherine (161)
        • Kathryn (237)
        • Kathleen (631)
        • 2021: Katherine (158)
        • Catherine (325)
        • Kathryn (595)
        • Kathleen (984)
    As of 2021, the variant spelling Katharine (with a middle 'a') has not appeared in the top 1000 most popular girls' names since 2006, in which year it ranked 905th most-given girls' name, the count being 293 registrations; while Catharine is not present in the top one-thousand list after 1996, when it ranked 983 with a count of 109 registrations.
  4. ^ UK government Office for National Statistics. "Baby Names, England and Wales, 1904-1994". Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  5. ^ Popularity statistics for England and Wales for years 2001, 2011, and 2021―name variant with (rank) shown in brackets:
    • UK government Office for National Statistics. "Baby Names in England and Wales, 2011". Retrieved 3 November 2012.
    • "Baby names for girls in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 April 2023.
        • 2001: Katherine (78)
        • Catherine (98)
        • Kathryn (136)
        • Katelyn (240)
        • Catrin (337)
        • Kathleen (399)
        • Katharine (480)
        • Catriona (540)
        • Katerina (584)
        • Katlyn (962)
        • 2011: Katherine (169)
        • Catherine (233)
        • Katlyn (615)
        • Kathleen (714)
        • Katerina (841)
        • Catrin (989)
        • 2021: Catherine (457)
        • Katherine (478)
        • Kathleen (983)
    • The last appearance of Katharine in the top 1000 was in 2008 at a rank of 817th and a count of 410. There is no record of the spelling Catharine appearing in the top 100 girls' names in England and Wales.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h De Felice, Emidio (1995) [1986]. Dizionario dei nomi italiani (in Italian) (3 ed.). Milan: Mondadori.

External linksEdit

  • Name statistics for Northern Ireland:
    • "Baby Names". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Government of the United Kingdom.
  • Name statistics for Scotland: