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Gender: F Meaning of Catherine: "pure" Origin of Catherine: Greek Catherine's Popularity in 2016: #195

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.

Famous People Named Catherine

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 4th century Roman martyr
Saint Catherine of Siena, Italian nun
Catherine I (born Marta Helena Skowrońska), Empress of Russia; wife of Peter the Great
Catherine II "The Great" (born Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg), Empress of Russia
Catherine, Queen consort of John III of Navarre
Catherine of Valois, Queen consort of Henry V of England
Catherine of Aragon, first Queen consort of Henry VIII of England
Catherine Howard, fifth Queen consort of Henry VIII of England
Catherine Parr, sixth Queen consort of Henry VIII of England
Catherine of Braganza, Queen consort of Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland
Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Britain's Prince William
Catherine (Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo) de' Medici, Queen consort of Henry II of France
Catherine of Lancaster, Queen consort of Henry III of Castile
Catherine Sunadotter of Ymseborg, Queen consort of Eric XI of Sweden and the Goths
Catherine of Bjurum, Queen consort of Charles VIII and I of Sweden and Norway
Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg, first Queen consort of Gustav I of Sweden
Catherine Stenbock, second Queen consort of Gustav I of Sweden
Catherine Jagiellon, Queen consort of John III of Sweden
Catherine of Austria, Queen consort of John III of Portugal
Catherine of Austria, Queen consort of Sigismund II Augustus of Poland
Catherine of Bosnia, Queen consort of Stephen Thomas of Bosnia
Catherine Ann "Kate" Bosworth, American actress
Catherine Elise "Cate" Blanchett, Australian actress
Catherine Ann Keener, American actress
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Welsh actress
Catherine "Kate" Bush, English singer-songwriter
Catherine "Kate" Ceberano, Australian singer-songwriter
Catherine Oxenberg, American actress; daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia
Catherine (Fabienne Dorleac) Deneuve, French actress
Catherine Lisa Bell, American actress
Catherine Lucy Hawking, English journalist and novelist
Catherine Tate, British actress
Catherine Jinks, Australian author
Catherine Curtin, American actress
Catherine Judith "Kate" Markowitz, American singer-songwriter
Catherine Joan "Kate" Wilkinson, New Zealand politician
Catherine Winifred "Kate" Harcourt, New Zealand actress
Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Pierson, singer of American band The B-52's
Catherine "Kate" Greenaway, English children's author
Catherine Davis "Kate" Higgins, American voice actress
Catherine "Catt" Sadler, American entertainment news reporter
Catherine Tate, English comedienne
Catherine Booth, English co-founder of the Salvation Army
Catherine Carey, Lady Knollys, cousin and Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I
Catherine Willoughby, 12th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby
Catherine Seymour, Countess of Hertford, sister of Lady Jane Grey
Catherine Thomson "Kate" Dickens, wife of novelist Charles Dickens
Catherine Skinner, Australian sport shooter

Pop Culture References for the name Catherine

Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Catherine "Kitty" Bennet, two characters from Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice"
Catherine "Cathy" Earnshaw, character in Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights"
Catherine Linton, daughter of Catherine Earnshaw, character in "Wuthering Heights"
Catherine Barkley, main love interest in Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms"
Catherine, minor character in "The Great Gatsby"
Catherine Willows, character from TV's 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'
Catherine Tramell, main character in movie 'Basic Instinct'
"Catherine," Atlus video game and main character
Catherine Leigh Dollanganger, from the Dollanganger Saga by V.C. Andrews
Catherine Morland, character from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey
Catherine Chandler, character from TV's "Beauty And The Beast"
Catherine Martell, character on TV's "Twin Peaks"
"Catherine," series of novels by Juliette Benzoni
Catherine Rollins, character on TV's 'Hawaii Five-0'
Lavinia Catherine Swire, character from Downton Abbey
Catherine "Charlie" Demarco, character from the TV Series Graceland
Catherine Jane "Cat" Grant, character on TV's "Supergirl"
Catherine Meyer, Selina's daughter on TV's "Veep"