Girl Baby Name

Katherine

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Quick Facts on Katherine

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Greek
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 77
Pronunciation:
KATH-ə-rin
Simple meaning:
The far reaching one; Pure one, clear, innocent

Characteristics of Katherine

  • Independent
  • Individualistic
  • Ambitious
  • Strong-willed
  • Inventive
  • Successful

Etymology & Historical Origin - Katherine

Katherine is the typical English spelling of the French Catherine, a name made famous by a 4th century saint, St. Catherine of Alexandria, whose legend and cult grew during medieval times. The etymology of Catherine is debated, but the earliest derivative of the name is most likely the Greek Hekaterine, stemming from “hekateros” meaning “the far reaching one”, suggesting that Katherine shares her roots with the Greek Titan Hekátē (Hecate), goddess of the wilderness, childbirth and the crossroads (see the name Catherine for more information). The “h” in Katerine was added much later in the 16th century in order to connect the name with the Greek “katharos” meaning “pure, clear, innocent” (which gave us the English word “catharsis” meaning to purge or cleanse). This Christian-driven folk etymology is apropos given the influence of the 4th century virgin saint Catherine of Alexandria, Egypt who was revered for ideals of innocence and purity (she was tortured on the wheel – a particularly cruel method of punishment – for upholding her Christian beliefs which was against Roman law at the time). See historical figures below for more information on St. Catherine of Alexandria. Americans, Canadians and the English prefer the Katherine spelling over Catherine.

Popularity of the Name Katherine

Like the name Catherine, Katherine has been a popular name for girls in America for over a century. In recent years, the name Katherine has become the most popular spelling variation in the United States (over Catherine and Kathryn). Katherine has consistently been on the Top 100 list of girls’ names for over a century (except for a brief period in the 1930’s). The name has a timeless essence without feeling old-fashioned, and it’s extremely flexible in terms of creating pet forms (Katie, Kathy, Kathleen). Given the many K/Catherines of royalty and nobility through the ages, the name has a queenly, stately quality that adds to its appeal.
Popularity of the Girl Name Katherine
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Katherine

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Katherine

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Katherine

    Katherine (Katherine) This classic romance novel by Anya Seton tells the true story of the love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family. Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption. This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and untamable love has become a classic since its first publication in 1954.

    Katherine “Kate” Minola (The Taming of the Shrew) Kate is the sharp-tongued, wild and “shrewish” elder daughter of Baptista in Shakespeare’s much-performed 1590/94 play, “The Taming of the Shrew”. Kate has what we today would consider some very valid objections to the institution of marriage and the roles of men and women therein. Poor Kate – she is being forced into an unwanted marriage because her father will not allow the sweet younger sister, Bianca, to be married before the elder. (Bianca, in fact, is being auctioned off to the highest bidder, in the usual Shakespearean whirl of subterfuge, chicanery and double identities.) Long criticized for the physical abuse enacted by husband upon wife in a comical setting, the play remains one of Shakespeare’s most controversial. Whether or not Kate actually succumbs willingly to Petruchio, or whether she only appears to do so and works within the limitations of her circumstances, she is one woman not to be taken lightly. Our suggestion: put it in the context of its time and enjoy it – a little politically correct attitude goes a long way. We’re voting on the side that says #1 – it shines an early light upon the ancient inequality of the sexes, and #2 – it’s all in fun.

  • Popular Songs on Katherine

    Popular Songs on Katherine

    Katherine of Oregon - a song by Al Stewart

    Katherine the Grateful - a song by Knapsack

    Katherine, Please - a song by Tokyo Rose

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Katherine

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Katherine

    An Abundance of Katherines (John Green) - Right after intellectual child-prodigy Colin Singleton graduates from high school, his girlfriend (who, like the 18 young women and girls whom he claimed as girlfriends over the years, is named Katherine) breaks up with him and sends him into a total funk. His best friend, Hassan, determines that he can only be cured with a road trip. After some rather aimless driving, the two find themselves in Gutshot, TN, where locals persuade them to stay. There, Colin spends his spare time working on a mathematical theorem of love, hypothesizing that romantic relationships can be graphed and predicted. Recommended for ages young adult.

    Half Magic (Edward Eager) - Jane discovers an ancient that grants half of any wish. She and her brother Mark, and sisters Katherine and Martha start double wishing with coin and all sorts of strange things start to occur. They travel back in time, meet Merlin, see the Sahara Desert, and make one more special wish before they pass the coin onto someone else. The New York Times said: ““Half Magic is a funny, charming, timeless book, as much a pleasure to read to a child now as it was forty years ago. Those who had it read to them then may even have an obligation to pass on the pleasure.” Recommended for ages 9-12.

  • Famous People Named Katherine

    Famous People Named Katherine

    Famous People Named Katherine - Katharine Hepburn (actress); Katherine Heigl (actress); Katherine Anne Porter (writer); Katherine Jenkins (Welsh singer); Katherine Mansfield (writer); Katherine Swynford (14th century English royalty); Katherine Dunham (dancer/choreographer); Katherine Harris (politician)

  • Children of Famous People Named Katherine

    Children of Famous People Named Katherine

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Katherine - Adlai Stevenson (politician); Arnold Schwarzenegger (actor/politician); Ed McMahon (TV personality); Gene Wilder (actor); Jane Seymour (actress); Joan Collins (actress); Maria Shriver (journalist); Martin Short (actor/comic); Ross Perot (politician); Tim Allen(actor/comic); William McKinley (U.S. President)

  • Historic Figures

    Katherine - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Saint Catherine of Alexandria (4th Century) - Almost all living women named Catherine today can thank St. Catherine of Alexandria for their name. As her legend and cult grew in the Middle Ages, she gained quite a following (particularly among women who began naming their daughters after her in veneration). Often referred to as “Catherine of the Wheel”, St. Catherine was martyred in Alexandria, Egypt around 307 AD yet “herstory” was largely unknown until around the year 800 when her relics were purportedly discovered on Mt. Sinai (apparently her hair was still growing and healing oils were secreting from her body). Um, yah, kind of creepy, but such stories of saintly relics were hugely popular in medieval times and Catherine was a glowing example of the so-called Virgin Martyrs. Catherine of Alexandria was born a pagan princess at the end of the 3rd century in Alexandria, Egypt, but converted to Christianity before the age of 20. She was renowned for her beauty, intellect, education and articulation. She took her religious arguments to the Roman Emperor Maxentius in an effort to stop the cruel persecutions of Christians under his rule. In doing so, Catherine managed to convert almost all of those around him to Christianity, including his own wife. When Maxentius tried to thwart her by proposing marriage, she refused, declaring herself the wife of Christ to whom she consecrated her virginity. Incensed, the emperor ordered her death on the spiked wheel (a rather cruel method of execution during Antiquity). Legend has it that the wheel miraculously broke and freed Catherine as she prayed. So her executioners switched to Plan B instead: they beheaded her (the angels then swooped down and carried her off to Mt. Sinai). The name Catherine became a particular favorite among the French after Joan of Arc declared that St. Catherine of Alexandria was one of the saints who appeared to her in a dream instructing her on what she needed to do. St. Catherine is remembered among Catholics as a woman who would not abandon her true faith and stood bravely against the opposition despite the consequences. She is now the patron saint of philosophers and preachers, and her feast day is November 25.

Personality of the Girl Name Katherine

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Variations of the Baby Name - Katherine

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