Catherine Origin and Meaning

The name Catherine is a girl's name of Greek origin meaning "pure".

Catherine is one of the oldest and most consistently well-used girls’ 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 since Catherine Middleton, who reportedly hates the name Kate and never uses it, became the wife of 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.

# 332 in the US

Catherine Rank in US Top 1000

# 247 on Nameberry

Catherine Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Catherine Popularity

Famous People Named Catherine

  • Saint Catherine of Alexandria4th century Roman martyr
  • Saint Catherine of SienaItalian nun
  • Catherine I (born Marta Helena SkowroĹ„ska)Empress of Russia; wife of Peter the Great
  • Catherine II "The Great" (born Sophie Friederike Auguste von AnhaltZerbst,Dornburg), Empress of Russia
  • CatherineQueen of Navarre in her own right
  • Catherine of ValoisQueen consort of Henry V of England
  • Catherine of Aragonfirst Queen consort of Henry VIII of England
  • Catherine Howardfifth Queen consort of Henry VIII of England
  • Catherine Parrsixth Queen consort of Henry VIII of England
  • Catherine of BraganzaQueen consort of Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland
  • Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" MiddletonDuchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
  • Catherine (Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo) de' MediciQueen consort of Henry II of France
  • Catherine of LancasterQueen consort of Henry III of Castile
  • Catherine Sunadotter of YmseborgQueen consort of Eric XI of Sweden and the Goths
  • Catherine of BjurumQueen consort of Charles VIII and I of Sweden and Norway
  • Catherine of SaxeLauenburg, first Queen consort of Gustav I of Sweden
  • Catherine Stenbocksecond Queen consort of Gustav I of Sweden
  • Catherine JagiellonQueen consort of John III of Sweden
  • Catherine of AustriaQueen consort of John III of Portugal
  • Catherine of AustriaQueen consort of Sigismund II Augustus of Poland
  • Catherine of BosniaQueen consort of Stephen Thomas of Bosnia
  • Catherine Ann "Kate" BosworthAmerican actress
  • Catherine Elise "Cate" BlanchettAustralian actress
  • Catherine Ann KeenerAmerican actress
  • Catherine ZetaJones, Welsh actress
  • Catherine "Kate" BushEnglish singer,songwriter
  • Catherine "Kate" CeberanoAustralian singer,songwriter
  • Catherine OxenbergAmerican actress; daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia
  • Catherine Fabienne Dorleac DeneuveFrench actress
  • Catherine Lisa BellAmerican actress
  • Catherine Lucy HawkingEnglish journalist and novelist
  • Catherine TateBritish actress
  • Catherine JinksAustralian author
  • Catherine CurtinAmerican actress
  • Catherine Judith "Kate" MarkowitzAmerican singer,songwriter
  • Catherine Joan "Kate" WilkinsonNew Zealand politician
  • Catherine Winifred "Kate" HarcourtNew Zealand actress
  • Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Piersonsinger of American band The B,52's
  • Catherine "Kate" GreenawayEnglish children's author
  • Catherine Davis "Kate" HigginsAmerican voice actress
  • Catherine "Catt" SadlerAmerican entertainment news reporter
  • Catherine TateEnglish comedienne
  • Catherine BoothEnglish co,founder of the Salvation Army
  • Catherine CareyLady Knollys, cousin and Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I
  • Catherine Willoughby12th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby
  • Catherine SeymourCountess of Hertford, sister of Lady Jane Grey
  • Catherine Thomson "Kate" Dickenswife of novelist Charles Dickens
  • Catherine SkinnerAustralian sport shooter
  • Catherine O’HaraCanadian actress
  • Catherine Elizabeth "Cate" Edwardsattorney and daughter of former U.S. Senator John Edwards
  • Catherine PaizYouTuber from "The ACE Family"

Catherine in Pop Culture

  • Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Catherine "Kitty" Bennettwo characters from Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice"
  • Catherine "Cathy" Earnshawcharacter in Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights"
  • Catherine Lintondaughter of Catherine Earnshaw, character in "Wuthering Heights"
  • Catherine Barkleymain love interest in Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms"
  • Catherineminor character in "The Great Gatsby"
  • Catherine Willowscharacter from TV's 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'
  • Catherine Tramellmain character in movie 'Basic Instinct'
  • "Catherine" Atlus video game and main character
  • Catherine Leigh Dollangangerfrom the Dollanganger Saga by V.C. Andrews
  • Catherine Morlandcharacter from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey
  • Catherine Chandlercharacter from TV's "Beauty And The Beast"
  • Catherine Martellcharacter on TV's "Twin Peaks"
  • "Catherine" series of novels by Juliette Benzoni
  • Catherine Rollinscharacter on TV's 'Hawaii Five,0'
  • Lavinia Catherine Swirecharacter from Downton Abbey
  • Catherine "Charlie" Demarcocharacter from the TV Series Graceland
  • Catherine Jane "Cat" Grantcharacter on TV's "Supergirl"
  • Catherine MeyerSelina's daughter on TV's "Veep"
  • Catherine Wilder (nĂ©e Henderson)character in Marvel Universe
  • Catherinecharacter in Fire Emblem Three Houses video game

Catherine in Nameberry Blog Posts