Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Kathleen

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Irish
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 664
Simple meaning:
Pure one, innocent

Characteristics of Kathleen

  • Dependable
  • Solid
  • Practical
  • Hard-working
  • Industrious
  • Studious
  • Conservative

Etymology & Historical Origin - Kathleen

Kathleen is the anglicized form of the Gaelic Caitlín which is the Irish equivalent of Catherine. Caitlín is actually pronounced “cotch-leen” in the Irish-Gaelic tongue (so you can see how it got anglicized to Kathleen by the English). The name was brought to the British Isles in the Middle Ages by way of the Norman French as Cateline. From an etymological perspective, the Catherine family of names all derived from the Greek “Aikaterinë” (see Catherine) which translates to “pure one, clear, innocent.” The name Catherine was borne by a 4th century saint who was martyred in Egypt and came to be associated with ideals of courage and purity, qualities that were attractive to the Celts. In Ireland, the Celtic version, Caitlín, proved popular and gave rise to the anglicized version of Kathleen in England. The Irish legend of the Countess of Cathleen was put to pen by William Butler Yeats in 1892. During a terrible famine in Ireland the beautiful and fair-haired young Countess Cathleen offered her soul to the devil in exchange for food for the starving. Upon her death, the devil came to collect his due, but God interceded so Cathleen could go straight to heaven, so impressed was He that she would not only sacrifice her life, but her very salvation, for others. Kathleen has often been used as a pet form for Katherine, but it has also long enjoyed status as an independently given name as well. Kathy, Katie, Kath, Kate and Kat are all possible nicknames for the pretty Kathleen.

Popularity of the Name Kathleen

The name Kathleen has done remarkably well throughout the course of American history (at least since the 19th century). The name was moderately popular in the late 1800s but quickly started showing signs of victory by the 1920s. In fact, Kathleen was a Top 100 girl’s name in the United States for over 70 consecutive years (1918-1991). Very few names can claim such an accomplishment. The high point of Kathleen’s success came during the 1940s and 50s when she basked in the sun of the Top 20. The year 1949 was her shining achievement at position #9 on the charts. Back then, names like Patricia, Barbara, Nancy, Deborah and Sandra had her beat. Even though Kathleen started showing sign of her age by the 1990s, we still don’t consider her a mid-century definer. Rather she transcends such a restrictive label. Although Kathleen is clearly out of style today after dropping over 500 positions on the charts in the last 20 years, she’s still a little Irish charmer. Kathleen has a certain warmth and friendliness compared to the traditional Catherine. And she’s definitely not over used like Caitlin in its multitude of respellings. Kathleen is a little Irish lass – unpretentious, friendly and a little bit feisty. There are several pet forms available affording the name much flexibility. There’s a very popular old Irish ditty called “I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” – and we agree. This is a name to take home!
Popularity of the Girl Name Kathleen
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Kathleen

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Kathleen

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Kathleen

    Kathleen We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Kathleen.

  • Popular Songs on Kathleen

    Popular Songs on Kathleen

    I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen - an Irish ditty recorded by several artists including Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, The Platters, The Irish Tenors and Johnny Cash (among many others)

    Kathleen - a song by A Girl Called Eddy

    Kathleen - a song by Josh Ritter

    Kathleen - a song by Townes Van Zandt

    Kathleen (Catholicism Made Easier) - by Randy Newman

    Miss Kathleen - a song by Fisher

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Kathleen

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Kathleen

    Kathleen (Candice F. Ransom) - It’s 1847 and 16-year-old Kathleen O'Conner has just arrived in America from Ireland. Her parents died during the long sea voyage over the Atlantic Ocean, and her younger brother and two younger sisters died in Ireland because of the famine. Kathleen is alone. She has nothing else to do but work so she gets a job as a maid to the wealthy Thornley family. Only she falls in love with the 18 year old son of her wealthy employers, and it could cost Kathleen her job. Recommended for ages 13+

  • Famous People Named Kathleen

    Famous People Named Kathleen

    Famous People Named Kathleen - Kathleen “Kathy” Griffin (comedienne/TV personality); Kathleen Turner (actress); Kathleen Battle (opera singer); Kathleen Cleaver (civil rights activist); Kathleen Ferrier (English classical singer); Kathleen Kennedy (JFK’s sister)

  • Children of Famous People Named Kathleen

    Children of Famous People Named Kathleen

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Kathleen - Anthony Quinn (actor); Garry Marshall (producer); Johnny Cash (country musician); Joseph Kennedy (American businessman); Martie Maguire (musician with the Dixie Chicks); Robert Kennedy (politician/brother of JFK); Robert Kennedy Jr. (Kennedy family); Timothy Shriver (Kennedy family)

  • Historic Figures

    Kathleen - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Kathleen - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Kathleen.

Personality of the Girl Name Kathleen

The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature.  They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.

Variations of the Baby Name - Kathleen

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