Katherine Origin and Meaning

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

Katherine is one of the oldest, most diverse, and all-around best names: it's powerful, feminine, royal, saintly, classic, popular, and adaptable. Long one of the top girls' names starting with K, Katherine has now been unseated on the popularity list by upstarts Kennedy and Kinsley, but a dip in popularity only adds to its charm.

Katherine also has a wealth of spellings, short forms, and admirable namesakes. The Katherine spelling has been the preferred one in recent years, though Catherine (now associated with the Duchess of Cambridge) has a gentle vintage appeal, while the Katharine spelling relates to actress Kate Hepburn. Sleeker, more modern-feeling Kathryn has in fact been used for centuries and is still popular if not exactly stylish, and the Irish have favored Kathleen.

Katherine's origins are lost in the mists of time. The earliest version in Ancient Greece was Ekaterine, which may have come from the name of a folk dance. Later, the spelling was changed under the influence of the Greek word katharos, meaning "pure" — a desirable virtue.

Katherine has been used for countless literary figures over the centuries, from the spirited heroine of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew to the BFF in Fifty Shades of Grey to characters on TV's Castle and The Vampire Diaries.

Martin Short and Tim Allen have daughters named Katherine.

A profusion of nicknames includes Kate, Katie, Kathy, Kath, Kat, Kitty, Kay, and Kick. Among international variations are Catriona, Catarina, and Katrina. Two literary namesakes are Katherine Anne Porter and Katherine Mansfield.

# 169 in the US

Katherine Rank in US Top 1000

# 366 on Nameberry

Katherine Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Katherine Popularity

Famous People Named Katherine

  • Katherine SwynfordDuchess of Lancaster, wife of John of Gaunt
  • KatherinePrincess of Greece and Denmark, daughter of Constantine I
  • Katherine Anne "Katie" CouricAmerican newscaster
  • Katherine MansfieldNew Zealand fiction writer
  • Katherine Grace "Kat" McNamaraAmerican actress
  • Katherine Anne Porter (born Callie Russell Porter)American novelist
  • Katherine "Kate" ChopinAmerican novelist
  • Katherine Evelyn Anita "Katie" CassidyAmerican actress
  • Katherine Marie HeiglAmerican actress
  • Katherine JenkinsWelsh operatic mezzo,soprano
  • Katherine Sian MoennigAmerican actress
  • Katherine Elizabeth WebbAmerican model
  • Katherine Murray "Kate" MillettAmerican feminist author
  • Katherine Kiernan Maria "Kate" MulgrewAmerican actress
  • Katherine Emily "Kate" HewlettCanadian actress
  • Katherine RundellBritish author
  • Katherine Elizabeth "Kate" UptonAmerican model
  • Katherine RyanCanadian,British comedienne
  • Katherine Frances "Katy" BrandEnglish actress
  • Katherine Marlea ClarkU.S. Congresswoman from Massachusetts
  • Katherine HarrisU.S. Congresswoman from Florida
  • Katherine EsauGerman,American botanist
  • Katherine Mary DunhamAmerican dancer
  • Katherine Jane ParkinsonEnglish actress
  • Katherine "Kate" RitchieAustralian actress
  • Katherine Clairy BatisCrown Princess of Yugoslavia as wife of Crown Prince Alexander
  • Katherine TudorPrincess of England, daughter of King Henry VII
  • Katherine KellyEnglish Actress
  • Katherine "Katie" Beth NolanAmerican sports personality and television host
  • Katherine Schwarzeneggerdaughter of journalist Maria Shriver and actor/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Katherine LangfordAustralian actress
  • Katherine Ellen "Kath" SoucieAmerican actress
  • Katherine JohnsonAfrican,American NASA computer, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.
  • Katherine Swati Kaling (b. 2017)daughter of actress/writer Mindy Kaling
  • Katherine BowesLyon, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II
  • Katherine UchidaCanadian rhythmic gymnast
  • Katherine Ann CimorelliBass guitarist/singer in the band Cimorelli
  • Katherine "Kat" ReynoldsAmerican soccer player

Katherine in Pop Culture

  • Katherine "Kate" Houghton Beckettmain character on TV's "Castle"
  • Katherine "Kitty" Freemontcharacter in Leon Uris' "Exodus"
  • Katerina Petrova aka Katherine Piercecharacter on TV's 'The Vampire Diaries'
  • Katherine Solomoncharacter in 'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown
  • Katherine "Kitty" Formancharacter on TV's "That 70s show"
  • Katherine Mayfaircharacter on TV's 'Desperate Housewives'
  • Katherine "Kitty" Anne Prydealso known as Shadowcat, character in Marvel Universe
  • Katherine "Kat" Hillardsecond Pink Ranger in the Power Rangers series
  • Katherine Glendenningcharacter on TV's 'The Paradise'
  • Katherine "Kate" Kavanaghminor character in '50 Shades of Grey" series
  • Katherinedaughter in Shakespeare's "Henry V"
  • Katherine "Kate"character in Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew"
  • Katherine 'Kate' Austencharacter on TV's "Lost"
  • "An Abundance of Katherines" novel by John Green
  • Katherine "Kay" Corleonecharacter in "The Godfather" series
  • Katherine "Kate" character in 'Mortal Engines' by Philip Reeve
  • "Katherine" 1975 movie and main character
  • Katherine Plumbercharacter in Disney's Newsies
  • Katherine "kissing Kate" Barlowcharacter in Louis Sachar's "Holes"
  • Katherine "Katie" Abbott Newmandaughter of Victoria Newman & Billy Abbott on "The Young and the Restless"
  • Katherine "Kate" Kane aka BatwomanDC Comics superhero.
  • Katherine "Kate" Sanderscharacter in TV series "Lizzie McGuire"
  • Katherine Warrencharacter in the "Resident Evil" video game series
  • Katherine Fullertheater kid in "From Dusk Till Dawn"
  • Katherine "Kate" Olivia Harkermain character in Victoria Schwab's Monsters of Verity duology

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