Gender: Female Meaning of Catherine: "pure" Origin of Catherine: Greek Catherine's Popularity in 2019: #243

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.

16 names similar to Catherine

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Catherine. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Catherine, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

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


Rank in US: #243

- this week

Famous People Named Catherine

Pop Culture References for the name Catherine


NameLover2020 Says:


Katherine is much prettier. Plus, most of the nicknames start with a K, and a Catherine going by Kate (sorry Kate Middleton!) is kind of dumb when there's the much prettier Katherine.

MidnightSky Says:


Catherine the Great. Very elegant and classic with quite a history, from queens to saints. Equally striking as a middle name.

vintageisfave Says:


One of my favorite names. Classic, not frilly, and a bunch of nickname options!!! Also one of my favorite actresses is Catherine O’Hara :)

paulapuddephatt Says:


One of my all-time favourite names. I change my mind sometimes, but currently, am preferring this classic spelling again. I prefer Kate and Katie as their own names, not sure why. I love Cath and Kitty.

kxlly0614 Says:


Katherine is nice, but Catherine makes me imagine a gorgeous vintage actress for some reason.

Catherine Rose Says:


I agree, it is softer.

Catherine Rose Says:


To: Mary Kathryn- My name is Catherine and people pronounce my name with both the C-A-T-H-R-Y-N and the C-A-T-H-A-R-U-N pronunciations. I myself fluctuate between the two as well.

Catherine Rose Says:


My name is Catherine and I go by Wren! I've always preferred the C spelling.

Impwood Says:


I love this name! It is so beautiful. I am also very fond of Catriona and Cateline.

vintageisfave Says:


I like this spelling much better than Katherine! I can see it on a sweet little girl. My favorite nicknames are Kit/Kitty. I know so many Kates/Cates and Katies that I would never use those!

ThistleThorn Says:


I feel like if you want to call your daughter by her full name you should choose Catherine. But, if you like the nicknames Kate and Kit, Katherine would be a better choice.

ThistleThorn Says:


So cute and classic.

scblovesnames Says:


I do like this name. Catherine is gorgeous. I also like the variant Caitlin. so pretty.

casch Says:


Cruz is adorable! Catherine is my name, but I have always been known as Kit. As many Katherines as I know, I've always preferred my C over their K.

Catastroffy Says:


Much softer and prettier than Katherine, although I like both.

Guest Says:


I'm usually for C instead of K. I think Cs are usually prettier. I love Catherine. It's a lovely soft name. I don't really like the nicknames because they're so common. Kate, Katie, Cat, blah boring. Spruce it up a little bit. Try Wren as a nickname. Stretch far with classics. I know a cute little Catherine who goes by Cruz! 😍

mabespark Says:


I prefer Katherine, mostly because I like the looks of Kay and Kate more than Cay or Cate. :) Such a lovely and classic name, though, with either spelling.

kitchi1 Says:


Oh, Catrinel is pretty! Never heard of that before.

Guest Says:


One of my favorite classics. I'm still waiting for the pretty Romanian version Catrinel to come to Nameberry :(

AnonymousPerson Says:


I prefer the Katherine spelling on the whole, but it depends on the girl. With a C, it makes me think of a gentle and caring person. Catherine seems more of a sweet and classic spelling to me, too.

MaryKathryn Says:


I pronounce my name Kath-rinn, however I have a friend named Katherine and I pronounce her name the same exact way. I guess it depends on where you live.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


I have to admit, the Kathryn spelling is unusual to me.
Do you pronounce all the spellings as kath-rinn? Typically, in my area, Katherine is used, with a longer pronunciation: kath-ah-runn. Just wondering

MaryKathryn Says:


I'm rather biased to the K-a-t-h-r-y-n spelling, but if I had to choose an alternate spelling I would choose the C-a-t-h-r-y-n over the K.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


I like it better this way. I personally find the name Katherine boring and overused, but it looks cooler with a C. The two spellings I like are Catherine and Katharine.

Renee5322 Says:


I somewhat prefer this spelling over the "K" version but either way, it's a lovely, classic name.