My name is Catherine. If you look “Catherine” up in a book of baby names, you’ll find the meaning is “pure.”
Origins of Catherine
This name is derived from the Greek Aikaterina and the Latin Katharina. Why is the name spelled with a "C" in much of the world? When the name was introduced into Anglo-Saxon Britain, it was spelled with a "C" because the letter "K" did not yet exist in the English alphabet.
Catherine, spelled with a “C” is more old-fashioned, romantic, and feminine than its variant, Katherine, spelled with a “K”, although the latter spelling has become more popular in recent decades.
The name Catherine is a very popular name around the world. In the United States, its popularity peaked in the early 1900’s, and then began to fall. Despite a brief revival in the 1950’s, it has steadily declined. It may no longer be a fashionable name, but it is still among the top 200 names. It is probably far higher if you add all its variants together.
Famous Women Named Catherine
Catherine has a great history.
It is the name of a number of saints, Including St. Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of philosophers, students, craftsmen, nurses, and librarians.
It is a name with a royal lineage. Queen Catherine of Aragon was the first wife of the notorious Henry the VII. Catherine the Great was an Empress of Russia. It is also the name of the Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, the wife of Prince William who is second in line as heir to the English throne. (She is sometimes called Kate, but she hates that name and never uses it for herself.)
Catherine has also been the name of some of the great romantic heroines of literature, including Heathcliff’s love in Wuthering Heights and the passionate nurse Catherine Barkley in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.
In popular culture, we have a few famous actresses: Catherine Zeta Jones and Catherine Deneuve are two of them renowned for their beauty and talent.
Variations of Catherine
Here are a few of the variants and nicknames of Catherine/Katherine—just the ones most popular in English- speaking countries.
There a dozens and dozens more.
We are a vast army, we descendants of Aikaterina.
This is a great book if you are choosing a name for your baby or if you want to know more about name. The Name Book: Over10,000 Names - Their Meanings, Origins, and Spiritual Significance
© Catherine Giordano 2017
Picture Credits (from left to right):
Catherine of Aragon by Public Domain
Catherine Middleton by Maximus0970 CC-3.0
Catherine Zeta Jones by David Shankbone CC 3.0
Catherine Deneuve by Georges Biard CC 3.0