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Gender: Female Meaning of Katharine: "pure" Origin of Katharine: Spelling variation of Katherine, Greek

The name Katharine is a girl's name of Greek origin meaning "pure". Katharine and is often added to lists like Unique Vintage Names for Girls and discussed in our forums with posts like "Change Two Letters".

From the experts:

This is the spelling that old-time film star Katharine Hepburn used, and it's still favored by fans wanting to reference her classic strength and beauty. But in general, it's losing ground to Katherine and even Ms. Hepburn's own favorite short form, Kate.

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

Famous People Named Katharine

Saint Katharine Marie Drexel, American philanthropist & nun
Katharine Houghton Hepburn, American actress
Katharine Meyer Graham, American owner of The Washington Post
Katharine Hope McPhee, American singer and actress
Katharine Cornell, American actress and theater producer
Katharine Isabelle (born Katherine Isobel Murray), actress
Katharine Lucy Mary Worsley, Duchess of Kent, wife of Britain's Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
Katharine Juliet Ross, American actress
Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of Episcopal Church
Katharine Burr Blodgett, American physicist and inventor
Katharine Houghton, American actress, niece of Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Julia "Poppy" Harlow, American CNN anchor
Katharine Bouchage Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post

Pop Culture References for the name Katharine

Katharine, character in "Half-Magic"
Katharine "Kittyleen" Garland, character in May's "Kittyleen"
Katharine Tulman, character in Cameron's "The Dark Unwinding"
Katharine, character in Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost"
Katharine, queen in Kendare Blake's trilogy "Three Dark Crowns"


abertawe Says:


Yes. Kathryn vs. Katharine proves how much spelling can make or break a name. (another strong example: Michaela vs. McKayla)

paulapuddephatt Says:


Same here. Katharine has the edge over Katherine, for me. Yet, I prefer Catherine to Catharine. I do like the very fact that there are multiple spelling options, without getting silly, as is the case with many names. Kathryn and Cathryn are both lovely, too. Then, of course, there are the many nickname options. It is just such a classic and beautiful name. Even when it is super popular, you get diversity, with Kate, Katie, Kitty, Kath or Cath, Kathy or Cathy, Kat or Cat, etc.

abertawe Says:


To me, this is the most elegant spelling of the name.

shelbynh Says:


I love this spelling, partly because it's the namesake of Katharine Hepburn.

athenamay24 Says:


I like this spelling better than most of the other ones, including Kathryn and such.

Elisabeth2 Says:


This spelling is much better :)

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


I like this spelling (Katharine) better than Katherine,