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Gender: Female Meaning of Caitlin: "pure" Origin of Caitlin: Irish variation of Catherine

The name Caitlin is a girl's name of Irish origin meaning "pure". Caitlin and is often added to lists like Names That Mean Pure and discussed in our forums with posts like "Adding Then Eliminating -- Girls Themed".

From the experts:

An Irish and Welsh form of Catherine, Caitlin was a boom name of the eighties, rocketing from obscurity (Americans first heard it via the wife of doomed poet Dylan Thomas) to the height of popularity in the space of a decade. The original name was gradually eclipsed by its myriad spelling variations -- Katelyn and Kaitlyn both soon topping it on the popularity lists.

Now, most forms of Caitlin, including this most-authentic one, have started to dip, though there have been thousands of girls named Caitlin -- and Katelyn and Kaitlyn ad infinitum -- every year for the past three decades. So, while Caitlin is certainly one of the loveliest variations of Catherine, it's been overused to the point of semi-retirement, at least in the U.S. Cait might be a short form.

Actor Breckin Meyer named his daughter Caitlin in 2003. Caitlyn Jenner also brought a renewed fame to the name, though she uses the -lyn variation.

Find other names based on Caitlin using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Caitlin

(Wendilyn Marielle) Caitlin "Cait" Brennan, American singer and writer
Caitlin Davies, English writer
Caitlin Flanagan, American writer
Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan, Irish-American fantasy novelist
Catherine Elizabeth "Caitlin" Moran, English journalist
Caitlin Thomas, English author and wife of poet Dylan Thomas
Caitlin Tiffany Glass, American actress
Caitlin Doughty, American mortician and author
Caitlin Cary, American country music singer
Katherine Anne "Caitlin" Clarke, American actress and singer
Caitlin Lynn, American country music singer of duo Caitlin & Will
Caitlin Elisabeth Rose, American country music singer
Caitlin Elizabeth Wachs, American actress
Caitlin Elizabeth Carmichael, American actress
Caitlin Mallory, American ice dancer
Caitlin Ariana Sanchez, American voice actress
Caitlin Alexandra Hill, American YouTuber
Caitlin Kinney, American dancer and TV personality
Lauren Caitlin "Caite" Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina USA 2007
Caitlin McCarthy, American actress
Caitlin McClatchey, Scottish swimmer
Caitlin Ashley Fein, American actress; twin sister Amanda Fein
Caitlin Jean Stasey, Australian actress
Caitlin Campbell, New Zealand footballer
Caitlin Cahow, American ice hockey player
Caitlin "Kitty" Carruthers, American figure skater
Caitlin Cunningham, Australian basketball player
Caitlin Lever, Canadian softball player
Caitlin Leverenz, American swimmer
Caitlin Lowe, American softball player and Olympian
Caitlin Jade Foord, Australian footballer
Caitlin "Caity" Friend, Australian footballer
Caitlin FitzGerald, American actress
Caitlin Brunell, Miss Alabama 2014, daughter of NFL player Mark Brunell
Caitlin Rivers Crowell, daughter of singers Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash; granddaughter of singer Johnny Cash
Caitlin Cassidy, daughter of actor/producer Shaun Cassidy
Caitlin Marie Waltrip-Kinnaird, daughter of NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip
Caitlin McCarthy, daughter of singer Alison Moyet and Kim McCarthy
Caitlin Kelly, daughter of reality TV personality Deirdre "White Dee" Kelly
Caitlin Willow Meyer (b. 2003), daughter of actor Breckin Meyer
Caitlin Jennings (b. 2006), daughter of Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings

Pop Culture References for the name Caitlin

Caitlin, main character in "Mockingbird" by Kathryn Erskine
Caitlin "Kate" Todd, character in TV's "NCIS"
Caitlin Caine, character in the movie "The Long Kiss Goodnight"
Caitlin Atwater, character in the movie "The Staircase Murders"
Caitlin O'Shea, character in the movie "Falling Up"
Caitlin Cooke, character in animated series "6teen"
Caitlin Ryan, character on TV's "Degrassi: The Next Generation"
Caitlin Sommers, main character in the novel "Summer Sisters"
Caitlin Snow, aka Killer Frost, character in the CW TV show "The Flash," based off the DC Comics comic books of the same name
Caitlin Strucker, character on TV's "The Gifted"
Caitlin Spencer, character in the movie "Take The Lead"


mrs_anton_yelchin1990 Says:


This is my preferred spelling of the name. Don't think I would ever use it, considering how popular it is. Maybe as a middle...but unlikely.

abertawe Says:


Yes, my understanding was that the Irish pronunciation is cat-LEEN

irishdancer428 Says:


Isn't this name pronounced kot-leen or kotch-leen? Personally, I like it better as kot-leen, but has anybody else heard of these pronounciations? Thanks! :)

paulapuddephatt Says:


Probably my favourite spelling of this name

ian Says:


my name ian adams caitlin new mom

Impwood Says:


Cathleen is an Anglicised spelling of Caitlin, which is a diminutive of Caitriona, which is the Irish Gaelic version of Catherine. So they're all in the same family :)

britney d Says:


I've never seen the Cateline spelling, but I actually prefer it over the Caitlin spelling, I think it's the easiest.

snowsbeloved Says:


I love the Cateline spelling! Gorgeous. Too bad it will probably NEVER be spelled correctly unless you're in France :(

britney d Says:


Caitlin is the Irish form of Cateline, which is the French form of Katherine. I don't know why my font is italicized either. Katerina is also a form of Katherine, and Kayln is also thrown in there some where.

snowsbeloved Says:


You do know that Cathleen came from Catherine though, right? So technically, Caitlín is an Irish variation of Catherine. I have never heard of the Carleen pronunciation though. I thought Carleen was a female variation of Carl which comes from Charles.

scblovesnames Says:


I really like this name, and this version. I don't hate the other versions, but I do like this one the best.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:



Daiseymae Says:


I was just agreeing with you.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


That's what I already said.

Daiseymae Says:


Most people say "Kate-linn.

Daiseymae Says:


You just made my eyes cross.

Daiseymae Says:


Beautiful name.

Daiseymae Says:


The spellings can be confusing, but it is a beatiful name.

eyehex27433 Says:


I have relative named Caitlin and I really like the name! Personally I wouldn't name my child that but in 2015 I think it's fairly rare and would be a sweet variation on Katelyn or Katelin.

Carleen Says:


No it's car leen not kat leen

Carleen Says:


Oh and the different ways ppl spell Caitlin. Talk about butchering and name!!!!!
Kaitlyn Caitlyn caytlin kaytyn kaitlynne
Any others????

Carleen Says:


Caitlin actually comes from Cathleen not Catherine. Caitlin is supposed to be pronounced car-leen, so you can see where the origins of cathleen came from.

Caitlyn Says:


My name is "Caitlyn" and I love the spelling of it! I prefer it with a "C" and I dont mind the "Y" instead of an "I" I grew up around many Caitlyn's and I was the only one who spelt it that way! Spelling aside its a nice name!

gmdx Says:


If I could thumb this down more than once, I would

gmdx Says:


"Kate-linn" is the modern pronunciation. While "Cat-leen" may be the authentic pronunciation, it does sound a bit absurd to most modern ears.
Times change, languages evolve, and names do to. Live with it.

Catastroffy Says:


I love this name and I think it's not overused where I'm from - the UK. I have never met a Caitlin, only a Katelyn, who happened to be American anyway. I think this is very pretty and I love it along with Catrin and Catrinel.

gmdx Says:


Can we stop hating on variations please? Thank you! I'll admit, some are very out there, but the one's that have been commented are all totally acceptable, and you kinda sound like snobs.

flowercait Says:


That's so cool. How many Caitlin's do you know?

Guest Says:


Cat-leen is actually the authentic Irish pronunciation of this Irish name. It's not "absurd".

paf719 Says:


my name is caitlin and i was one of about 10 in my class... all of us pronounced our names "kate-linn" not "cat-linn" or "cat-leen" (which is an absurd pronunciation btw)
actually if people joke around and call me "cat-linn" i get decently annoyed

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


It's cat-leen but people are bound to pronounce it kate-linn, which lead to all those other spellings which would be pronounced as kate -linn. Spelled with an accented I, it's koyt-leen.

Catastroffy Says:


Excuse my ignorance, but how is this usually pronounced? "Cat-linn", "kate-linn", or "koyt-lin"?

jordalini Says:


This and Kaitlin are really the only acceptable forms of this name. Although I do think this name is waay overused

CaityLaw Says:


I am Caitlin too! :D

CaityLaw Says:


I am Caitlin and I hate when people spell my name wrong. 'Caitlyn' or 'Katelyn' is how they go to spell it.

flowercait Says:


I totally agree with you but I'm a little biased as Caitlin is my name! I really love my name and have even considered using it for a future daughter.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Caitlin is a great name, it's such a shame that it was replaced with Katelyn, Kaitlyn amd all those other variations. There just made up and ruined this pretty name, which isn't even pronounced the same in the first place. Caitlin will always be the best! Not too offend anyone named, Kaitlyn or Katelyn just saying that Caitlin is a different name.