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Gender: F Meaning of Catherine: "pure" Origin of Catherine: Greek Catherine's Popularity in 2013: #172

Popularity: this week.

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, 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 19-teens.

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.

People who like Catherine also like:

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Famous People Named Catherine

Catherine II "The Great" (1729-1796), empress of Russia
Catherine I (1684-1727), empress of Russia
Catherine de' Medici, wife of Henry II
Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII of England
Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII of England
Catherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII of England
Catherine "Kate" Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William of England
Catherine Ann "Kate" Bosworth, American actress
Catherine "Cate" Blanchett, Australian actress
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Welsh actress
Catherine Oxenberg, American actress and daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia
Catherine Deneuve, French actress
Catherine Bell, American actress
Catherine Tate, British actress
Catherine Jinks, Australian author
Catherine Curtin, American actress
Catherine "Catt" Sadler, entertainment news reporter
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 4th century saint

Pop Culture References for the Name Catherine

Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Catherine Bennet, two characters from Jane Austen's book Pride & Prejudice
Catherine Earnshaw, character from Emily Bronte's book Wuthering Heights
Catherine, minor character from F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby
Catherine Willows, character from 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'
Catherine Tramell, main character in the 1992 thriller film 'Basic Instinct' and its sequel
Catherine, an Atlus video game and its main character's name
Catherine, an alternative rock band
Catherine, a US metalcore band
Catherine "Caggie" Dunlop, from UK reality series 'Made in Chelsea'
Catherine Leigh Dollanganger, from the Dollanganger Saga by V.C. Andrews
Catherine Morland, character from Jane Austen's book Northanger Abbey
Catherine Chandler, character from the CW's "Beauty And The Beast"

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