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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
Related namesKatheryn, Kathryne, Kathryn, Katharyn, Katherin, Katheryne, Katharine, Ketherane, Katerine, Katrine, Katrin, Kathrin, Katharina, Katrina, Katarina, Katerina, Catheryn, Cathryne, Cathryn, Catharyn, Catherin, Catheryne, Catharine, Cetherane, Caterine, Catrin, Cathrin, Catharina, Catrina, Catarina, Caterina, Katalina, Catalina, Karina, Carina, Ekaterina, Yekaterina, Chatarina, Aikaterine, Katarzyna

Katherine, also spelled Catherine, and other variations are feminine names. They are popular in Christian countries because of their derivation from the name of one of the first Christian saints, Catherine of Alexandria.

In the early Christian era it came to be associated with the Greek adjective καθαρός (katharos), meaning "pure", leading to the alternative spellings Katharine and Katherine. The former spelling, with a middle a, was more common in the past and is currently[when?] more popular in the United States than in Britain. Katherine, with a middle e, was first recorded in England in 1196 after being brought back from the Crusades.[1]

Popularity and variations[edit]


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

Kathleen or Cathleen, an Anglicized form of the Irish form Caitlín, has 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.

Diminutives include Katie, Katy, Kate, Kathy, Kathe, Kath, Kay, Kat, Katja/Katya, Kota, Katyusha, Katrya, Kitty, Kit, Kasia, and others.

Other languages[edit]

See also[edit]


  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 Withycombe, E. G. (1976). The Concise Dictionary of English Christian Names (3rd ed.). London: Omega Books. ISBN 1-85007-059-8.
  2. ^ United States Social Security Administration. "Top Names Over the Last 100 Years". United States. Retrieved 3 November 2012. refers to 1912-2011: the order is Kathleen (rank 33), Catharine (rank 40), Katharine (42), Kathryn (72)
  3. ^ United States Social Security Administration. "Popular Baby Names". Retrieved 3 November 2012., for 2011 the order is Katherine (61), Catherine (161), Kathryn (237), Kathleen (632).
  4. ^ UK government Office for National Statistics. "Baby Names in England and Wales, 2011". Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  5. ^ UK government Office for National Statistics. "Baby Names, England and Wales, 1904-1994". Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h De Felice, Emidio (1995) [1986]. Dizionario dei nomi italiani (in Italian) (3 ed.). Milan: Mondadori.