Gender: Female Pronunciation: kath-LEEN; kat-LEEN Meaning of Kathleen: "pure" Origin of Kathleen: Anglicized form of Irish Caitlin Kathleen's Popularity in 2019: #941

Kathleen Origin and Meaning

The name Kathleen is a girl's name of Irish origin meaning "pure".

Kathleen is the early Irish import version that came between Katherine and Kaitlin, and which hasn't been used in so long it's almost beginning to sound fresh again. It was a surprise pick by one of the hip Dixie Chicks, Martie Maguire. Kathleen was a Top 10 name from 1948 to 1951, and it is the subject of several old sentimental songs, such as "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen."

From the eighteenth century, Kathleen Ni Houlihan appears in Irish songs as a symbol of Ireland, representing its struggle for independence.

Kathy Griffin and Kate Walsh were born Kathleen, and it's J.K. Rowling's middle name. JFK's sister Kathleen was known as Kick.

16 names similar to Kathleen

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Rank in US: #941

- this week

Famous People Named Kathleen

Pop Culture References for the name Kathleen


SugarCandy Says:


What a wonderful name. I know a particularly wonderful person with this name.

Eliza1303 Says:


I have a cousin named Kathleen and we call her Karter. Ya, ik the nickname doesn’t sound like the real name but I kinda like it that way. Idk it’s different.

dixiegirl02 Says:


I'm surprised at how much people seem to like this name. It is my name. When I was younger I wanted a name that people my age actually have like Lauren, Megan, Ashley, etc. I;m 20-30 years younger than most Kathleens. Be aware if you want to use it that people will constantly misspell and mispronounce it. I am called Katherine all the time as well as Caitlin. Some people even through an extra a in there Kath-a-leen. I like it better than I used to but do prefer Katherine. I don't like the nickname Kathy at all. Thankfully almost no one tries to call me that anymore. Older people love the name when they hear it.

Daiseymae Says:


This name is really growing on me! I think it is very attractive sounding.

meaganegibson Says:


I know a Kathleen, and this name fits her perfect! When she was younger she went by Kat (and still occasionally does), but she much prefers Kathleen now. I love how this name ages

ThDoctor Says:


I absolutely hate this name, not because of the name itself, because of how often people manage to misspell or misspeak it. I've been called Kaitlin, Kathaleen, Katherine, Katya, Katleen, Katerina, Katrina, Kathaleena, and Katie, and everyone *always* spells it with a C.

kxlly0614 Says:


I know a girl called Kathleen, and she really suits this name. I just imagine a very nice girl that is willing to help others. Also, I like it pronounced as Kath-Leen rather than Kat-Leen.

Wittyusername103 Says:


This is so lovely. I can see why this name is becoming a new nameberry.

thorn144 Says:


My name is Kathleen. Used to hate it, but I think it's becoming more classic and not outdated. I go by Kat actually, which is my initials as well as the first 3 letters of Kathleen, which I love!

EvaThyssen Says:


I love Kathleen. Another precious timeless name.

RoddyThlayli Says:


My middle name. Not a huge fan of it.

headintheclouds Says:


One of the names that was more popular in my parents' generation, but one that I don't find dated at all. I quite like Kathleen; I find it to be more of a classic-modern name, not so popular that it's heard everywhere, but starting to become timeless, similar to others like Russell and Cecilia.

Daiseymae Says:


How about Colleen? I knew two sisters named Colleen Ann and Cathleen Marie. Colleen seems so close to Kathleen.

SimoneKadele Says:


This isn't actually JK Rowling's middle name though. Joanne Rowling has no middle name. Kathleen was her grandmother's name, thus her pen name became JK Rowling.

SimoneKadele Says:


This was my favorite name (along with Matilda) in third grade. I got both of them from books- Kathleen came from the Magic Treehouse series. ;)

ThistleThorn Says:


The actual pronunciation of Caitlin is actually Kat - Leen. Which is much closer to Kathleen.

JazzieJonez Says:


This name is so pretty to me. One of those names that doesn't get a lot of credit nowadays, especially compared to Katherine (which is also a pretty name)

katenames Says:


My name is Kathleen! The fact that it's the 'K' in J.K. Rowling has special importance to me, because I'm a writer.