Meaning of the Name Catherine
Originating in Greece where it was first used to describe the Saint of Alexandria, Catherine is a popular feminine name. My etymological research has led me to discover the meaning of the name Catherine and what it represents.
Meaning of the name Catherine: A variant of the given name Katherine, the meaning of the name Catherine is “purity” “clean” or “untouched.” It was derived from the Greek given name Αἰκατερίνα or Aikerina.
Origin of the Name Catherine
The name Catherine originated in Greece where it was derived from the feminine name Aατερίνα or Aikerina. It’s unknown when the name was first used or who used it. One of the first documented uses of the name Catherine, however, occurred in the year 287 when it was borne by a saint. Saint Catherine of Alexandria was a Christian saint who performed extensively missionary work while converting hundreds of people to Christianity. She was such an influential figure that the Orthodox Church now celebrates her life annually on November 24 or November 25.
Because of Saint Catherine of Alexandria’s prominence, the name Catherine quickly spread throughout Europe before making its way to North America. It’s commonly associated with Christianity, with many Christian parents choosing this name for their daughters. Today, Catherine and its variants are commonly used as a feminine given name in over a half-dozen different countries.
Different Country Variations of the Name Catherine
- English: Cat, Caitlin, Cate, Catherin, Catharine
- French: Carine, Catanat, Cateline, Cathanne, Kailie
- German: Catherin, Catrin, Katherine
- Spanish: Catalina, Catarina, Catherina
- Swedish: Kai, Cajsa, Kaitrin
- Italian: Catalina, Caterina, Cati, Catia
The popularity of the Name Catherine
Catherine has been an incredibly popular feminine name for over a century. In 1880, it was the 31st most popular girls’ name in the United States. In 1920, Catherine was the 21st most popular girls’ name in the country. In 1940, Catherine was 53rd most popular girls’ name in the United States. Catherine has since lost some of its popularity, though it still ranked as the 161st most popular girls’ name in the country as of 2011, with birth records showing that nearly 2,000 newborn girls were named Catherine during this year.
Famous women named Catherine include American actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, American actress Catherine Bell, American Senator Catherine Masto, American actress Catherine Keener, American actress Catherine Hicks, Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, American actress Catherine Mary Stewart, Hungarian actress Catherine Schell and American actress Catherine Pierce.