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For other uses, see Katherine (disambiguation).
For another variant, see Katherine.
Carlo Crivelli 014.jpg
Catherine of Alexandria, by Carlo Crivelli. The name Catherine became famous in Christian communities because of this early saint
Gender Female
Word/name Greek
Other names
Nickname(s) Kate, Kath, Cath, Cate, Cat, Kathy, Kathie, Kathi, Katey, Katy, Kay, Kat, Katya, Katyusha, Katie, Kati, Kaki, Kit, Kitty, Kaity, Kasia, Cathy, Kaká, Kah, Kata
Related names Katheryn, Kathryn, Katharyn, Katherin, Catharine, Cathryn, Katheryne, Catherine, Katharine, Katharina, Katrin, Kare, Karina, Kathrin

Catherine is a feminine name. It is popular in Christian countries, as it was the name of one of the first Christian saints, Catherine of Alexandria.

Origin and meaning[edit]

The name originated from the Greek Αἰκατερίνα or Αἰκατερίνη (Aikaterina, Aikaterinē), which is of unknown etymology. The earliest known use of the Greek name is in reference to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The theory that the name comes from Hecate, the name of the Greek goddess of magic, is regarded by the editors of the Oxford Dictionary of First Names as unconvincing,[1] however this appears as merely an opinion of the editors and their text admits the etymology is unknown.

Another potential origin of the name is the Armenian word Կատար, gadar, meaning "peak" or "summit." In Armenian, the equivalent name is Կատարինէ, Gadarine.

The name subsequently 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 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.[2]

Popularity and variations[edit]


In Britain and the U.S., "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", "Katherin", "Catharine" and "Cathryn".[3][4][5][6]

"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", "Katya", "Katyusha", "Kitty", "Kit", "Kasia", "Kaya", "Kaká", "Kah", "Kee" and others.

World languages[edit]

Greek *Αικατερίνη (Ekaterini, Aikateríni̱),[2] *Καιλαύρα 'Kelavra', *Καινά 'Kena', *Καίρα 'Kera' *Καίρη 'Keri', *Καίρια (Keria), *Κάρα (Kara) *Καίτη (Keti) *Καίτυ (Kety) *Κάτια (Katia) *Καθαλαύρα (Kathalavra) *Καθάνδρα (Kathandra) *Καθανδρέα (Kathandrea), *Καθαρσία (Katharsia), *Κατίνα (Katina), *Κατερίνα/Katerina

Turkish *Akaterina, *Katarina

Welsh *Cadi, *Catrin

Irish *Cáit, *Caitlín,[2] *Catraoine

English *Caitlin,[2] *Caitlyn, *Caren, *Carin, *Caryn, *Cat, *Cate, *Cathanne, *Catharine, *Catherin, *Catherine, *Cathie, *Cathleen, *Cathy,[2] *Catie, *Kaety, *Kaila, *Kait, *Kaitlin, *Kaitlyn, *Kaity, *Kaitrina, *Karena, *Karen [2] *Karyn, *Karyna, *Kat, *Kate [2] *Katherina, *Katheryn *Katheryne , *Kathey *Kathi, *Kathie, *Kathianna, *Kathianne , *Kathlaura, *Kathlauren, *Kathlaurie *Kathleen, *Kathlyn, *Katelin, *Katelyn, *Katelynn , *Katelynne *Katy, *Kay [2]*Kaye, *Katee, *Kyla, *Kylie *Kathanne, *Katharine,[2] *Katlyn, *Katriona, *Katie,[2] *Kathryn, *Kathy, *Kitty,[2] *Katrina

17th Century English *Catherne [2] *Katherne,[2]

Middle English *Catlin,[2] *Kateline,[2] *Katerine [2]

Irish Gaelic *Caitria, *Caitrín, *Caitrina, *Caitrina, *Caitríona, *Tríona

Danish *Caja, *Catja, *Karen,[2] *Trine, *Katika

Swedish *Cajsa, *Catharina, *Catrine, *Kai, *Kaitrin, *Kaitrina, *Kaj, *Kajsa, *Karin, *Katarina, *Katrin, *Katrina

Portuguese *Carina, *Cátia

French *Carine, *Catant, *Cathanne, *Cathareau, *Catherine, *Kaila, *Karine, *Kathlaurie, *Kylie, *Kathareau, *Trinette

Afrikaans *Karien, *Karin, *Karina, *Katerien, *Katinka, *Katryn

Romanian *Cătălina, *Catina, *Catinca, *Ecaterina

Spanish *Catalina, *Catarina, *Catherina

Neapolitan *Catarina

Galician *Catarina

Italian *Catarina,[2] *Caterina [2]

Portuguese *Catarina

Old French *Cateline,[2] *Caterine

Catalan *Caterina

Dutch *Catharina, *Cato, *Kaatje, *Kaitrina, *Karen, *Karin *Katen, *Katelijn, *Katelijne, *Trijn, *Trijntje, *Nienke, *Katerien , *Katja, *Katrijn, *Katrina, *Katrine

Nordic *Cathey

Hiberno-English *Cathleen,[2] *Kerry [2]

German *Cathrin, *Catrin, *Kelavra, *Kaitrin, *Kaitrina, *Karen, *Karin, *Karina, *Katarina, *Katarine, *Kathalavra, *Katherina, *Kathlaura, *Kathlauren, *Kathlaurie, *Kathanne, *Käthe, *Katharine, *Katharina , *Trine, *Trina, *Trinchen, *Kathrin, *Katinka, *Katja, *Katryn, *Katrin, *Katrina

Scandinavian *Cathrine, *Katrine

Manx *Catreena, *Catreeney

Scottish Gaelic*Catrìona [2]

Georgian *ეკა Eka, *ეკატერინე Ekaterine *ქეთა Keta *ქეთევან Ketevan *ქეთი Keti *ქეთო Keto

Bulgarian *Екатерина Ekaterina, *Katya, Katerina

Macedonian *Екатерина Ekaterina, *Кетрин (Ketrin), Katerina

Russian *Екатерина Jekaterina (Can also be transliterated with Ye–),[2] *Katya, *Katenka, *Кэтрин (Ketrin), *Katka, *Катя Katya, Katia, Katja, *Katushka, Katerina, *Katinka

Latvian) *Ekaterina, *Trīne, *Katrīna

Armenian *Գադարա Gadara, *Կատարինէ Gadarine, *Կատարա Kadara, *Կատարինէ Kadarine, *Կարինե / Kari

Sami *Gáhteriinná, *Gáre, *Gáren, *Káhtariinná, *Kariinná, *Káren, *Káre

Lithuanian *Jekaterina, *Katarina, *Kotryna

Greenlandic *Kaarat

Finnish *Kaarina, *Kaija, *Kaisa, *Kaisu, *Karin, *Katariina, *Kata, *Riina, *Kati, *Katri, *Katriina, *Katja

Serbian *Kaća, *Катарина (Katarina)

Estonian *Kadri, *Kaisa, *Kaisu, *Katariina, *Triin, *Triinu

Norwegian *Kaia, *Karen, *Karia, *Kari

Hawaiian *Kailani, *Kelavra, *Kailua, Keri, *Kalina, *Kalena, *Kakalina

Arabic *كلارا 'Kelavra' , *كائنا 'Kena',*كيرا 'Kera' كيري 'Keri', *كاثرين, *Kathani

Japanese *カイリ 'Keri', *笠利 Kasari *キャサリン (Kyasarin), *Reina

Scandinavian *Kaja

Polish *Kaja, *Kasia, *Karina, *Katarzyna, *Kaśka, *Kasieńka

Albanian *Kalitarina, *Kalitrina, *Kaltarina, *Kaltrina

Croatian *Kata

Hungarian *Kata, *Katalin, *Katarina, *Kató , *Katóka, *Koto, *Kati, *Katica, *Katinka

Basque *Katalin, *Katalina *Katarin

Breton *Katarin, *Katell

Slovak *Katarína

Croatian *Katarina, *Kate, *Rina, *Katica, *Katja

Serbian *Katarina, *Katica

Slovene *Katarina, *Katica, *Katja

Ukrainian *Katya, *Kateryna, *Katerynka, *Кетрін (Ketrin), *Katrusia, *Катя Katya, Katia, Katja, Katerina

Czech *Kateřina, *Kateřinka, *Katka, *Katuška, *Katica

Albanian *Ketrina, Katerina

Malayalam *Kathreena, *Kathri

Frisian *Nynke

Belarusian *Кэтрын (Ketryn)

Bengali *ক্যাথারিন (Kyāthārin)

Chinese Simplified *凯瑟琳 (Kǎisèlín)

Chinese Traditional *凱瑟琳 (Kǎisèlín)

Gujarati *કેથરિન (Kētharin)

Hebrew *קתרין

Hindi *केथरिन (Kētharina), *Kathani

Kannada *ಕ್ಯಾಥರೀನ್ (Kyātharīn)

Khmer *ខាធើរិន (Khatheurin)

Korean *캐서린 (Kaeseorin)

Marathi *कॅथरिन (Kĕtharin)

Mongolian *Катерин (Katyerin) Persian *کاترین

Punjabi *ਕੈਥਰੀਨ (Kaitharīn) Tamil *கேத்ரீன் (Kētrīṉ)

Telugu *కాథరిన్ (Kātharin)

Thai *แคเธอรีน (Khæṭhexrīn)

Urdu *کیتھرین

Yiddish *קאַטערין (Katerin), *Reina

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patrick Hanks and Kate Hardcastle, eds., Oxford Dictionary of First Names, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 154.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Withycombe, E. G. (1976). The Concise Dictionary of English Christian Names (3rd ed.). London: Omega Books. ISBN 1-85007-059-8. 
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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).
  5. ^ UK government Office for National Statistics. "Baby Names in England and Wales, 2011". Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  6. ^ UK government Office for National Statistics. "Baby Names, England and Wales, 1904-1994". Retrieved 3 November 2012.