Catherine is one of the oldest and most consistently well-used female names, with endless variations and nicknames. The Catherine form feels more gently old-fashioned and feminine than the more popular K versions. Most stylish nickname for Catherine right now: Kate...or Cate, a la Blanchett.
While the popularity of the Catherine form has been waning in favor of Katherine with a K, we think that might turn around now that Catherine Middleton, who reportedly hates the name Kate and never uses it, has married Prince William and put a modern, stylish gloss on her already classy name.
The Catherine spelling was a Top 100 name until the millennium; it reached as high as Number 18 in the 19teens.
Catherine has been well used throughout history for saints (one of whom, Catherine of Alexandria is the patron saint of philosophers, students, craftsmen, nurses,and librarians), queens, and commoners alike.
Catherine has also been associated with 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.
And if your're wondering why all those interchangeable C's and K's, it's because when the name was introduced into Anglo-Saxon Britain, Catherine was spelled with a C because the letter K did not yet exist in the English alphabet.
Parents may also want to consider one of the attractive foreign variations, such as Caterina.