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Gender: female
Pronunciation: Cath-er-inn
Meaning: pure one
Related Names: Caitlin, Cate, Cath, Catharine, Cathryn, Cathy, Catlyn, Kady, Kaitie, Kaity, Kaki, Kat, Kate, Katey, Kath, Katharyn, Katherin, Katherine, Katheryn, Katheryne, Kathi, Kathie, Kathryn, Kathy, Kati, Katie, Katlina, Katy, Katya, Katyusha, Kay, Kayley, Kit, Kitty, Trina

Length: 9 Gender: {{#if female



Rank in 2000s: 107


Name: catherine Origin: {{{origin}}}, [[Category:{{{origin}}} Names]], [[Category:{{{origin}}} Given Names]] Meaning (no case): pure one

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The etymology of Catherine is debated, but the earliest derivative of the name is the Greek 'Hekaterine,' stemming from 'hekateros', meaning 'each of the two.' It is possible Catherine shares its roots with the name Hecate, Greek goddess of the wilderness, childbirth, and crossroads. Alternately, the Greek name Aikaterina has led to speculation that the name is derived from the Greek 'aikia,' meaning 'torture,' but this is not widely held. The 'h' in the English form was introduced in the 16th century, a folk etymology that dates from Roman times when the name was associated with the Greek 'katharos,' for 'pure.' Our modern use of the Greek-derived 'catharsis,' to purge or cleanse, also lends to Catherine's association with ideas of purity and innocence. Historically, the name was borne by Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, and three of King Henry VIII's wives (which may have saved Henry some time in adjusting to the new names of his oft-replaced spouses.)


The 4th-Century Saint Catherine of Alexandria, nicknamed 'the pure one,' was a Christian martyr tortured on the wheel for upholding her religious beliefs. She was held in particular veneration during the Middle Ages, and the name experienced a surge of popularity in those times. Catherine has more or less stayed in the top 100 most popular baby names in America over the last century, being most popular in the 1900s and 1910s, and gradually dropping in rank as the twentieth century progresses. In 2006, Catherine was the 122nd most popular name for American girls. The name has also been popular in Ireland, Malta, Chile, Scotland, and England in recent years.


The torture device known as the wheel, or breaking wheel, was developed as an excruciating, pummelling method of execution in Ancient Greece, and was used throughout the Middle Ages and early modern times in France, Sweden, Russia, and Germany. When Saint Catherine of Alexandria was ordered to die upon the wheel - in her case, a spiked version - it was thereafter known as the Catherine wheel, and also used as an iconographic attribute in renderings of the martyr.


  • 2 bands have appropriated the name Catherine - one, an alternative rock band whose early reviews deemed them "little more than a second-rate Smashing Pumpkins knockoff," played together from 1985-1998; a newer metalcore band from Sacramento, California, formed in 2004 and continue to play together. Finding albums from either of the bands in the dollar bin of used record stores make thoughtful, if unused, gifts for fathers to bestow upon their appropriately-named daughters.
  • Anya Seton's historical novel, Katherine, about the love affair between Katherine DeRoet (nee` Swynford) and John of Gaunt, is regarded as a prime example of historical fiction, and has placed on both the BBC's Big Read survey of Britain's best-loved novels, and Ladies' Home Journal's top 10 all time best love stories.
  • Saint Catherine's monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which sits at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt, is one of the oldest functioning Christian monasteries in the world. The site is associated with Saint Catherine of Alexandria, whose relics were purportedly transported by angels to the monastery after her death.
  • Catherine Creek, a 15-mile stream in upstate New York, is named after Catherine Montour, a prominent woman in Iroquois history.
  • Katherine is a town in the Northern Territory of Australia
  • Katerini, a town in Greece, is a popular tourist destination, offering ancient archaelogical cities, castles, and beautiful nearby beaches.
  • Yekaterinburg, a major city in Russia, is named for St. Catherine and Empress Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great.


  • St. Catherine of Alexandria, 4th century Christian martyr, gave her name to the breaking wheel, which, when it 'miraculously' failed to kill her, prompted her executioner to resort to the more time-effective method of decapitating her instead.
  • St. Catherine of Siena (born March 25, 1347), was a Christian mystic and one of 25 siblings.
  • St. Catherine of Bologna (born Catherine de'Vigri, September 8, 1413) had visions of both God and Satan, and wrote the 'Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons Necessary for Spiritual Warfare'.
  • St. Catherine de'Ricci, born April 23, 1522, became a perpetual prioress at the convent of San Vincenzo in Tuscany at 25, and corresponded with several future popes. Reportedly, she would spontaneously start bleeding when meditating on Christ's passion, and was known for indulging in multiple forms of self-punishment, including extreme fasting and wearing a sharp iron chain around her neck.
  • St. Catherine of Sweden, born 1332, is the patron saint against abortion and miscarriage
  • St. Catherine of Genoa, born 1447, spent most of her life attending the sick, especially during years of plague in her city. She is credited as having numerous visions of purgatory.

Many Catherines have sat on thrones, giving the name's queenly, stately qualities.

  • Catherine the Great (born May 2, 1729), Empress of Russia, known for her deft diplomatic qualities, was a great patron of the arts who kept numerous lovers throughout her lifetime. An enduring, completely disputable rumor still holds that she died because of an accident involving bestiality and a horse.
  • Catherine of Aragon, queen consort of England, was Henry VIII of England's first wife.
  • Catherine de' Medici was Queen of France as the wife of King Henri II.
  • Catherine of Braganza was the queen consort of King Charles II of England.
  • Catherine I of Russia, Tsarina-consort of Russia, wife of Peter the Great
  • Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark is the last surviving great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria

and the name still endures..



Catherine Hampton, Catherine Philip, Catherine Smith, Catherine Johnson, Catherine Williams, Catherine Jones, Catherine Brown, Catherine Davis, Catherine Miller, Catherine Wilson, Catherine Moore, Catherine Taylor, Catherine Aaberg, Catherine Aagaard, Catherine Aagenes, Catherine Aakeberg, Catherine Aakhus, Catherine Aalderks, Catherine Aalerud, Catherine Aalleei, Catherine Aalto, Catherine Aanestad, Catherine Aanonsen, Catherine Aarhus, Catherine Aaroe, Catherine Aaron, Catherine Aathans, Catherine Abadia, Catherine Abadilla, Catherine Abahazy, Catherine Abaka, Catherine Abalos, Catherine Abarca, Catherine Abarta, Catherine Abate, Catherine Abatjoglou, Catherine Abbas, Catherine Abdelm, Catherine Abshure, Catherine Aitmoussa, Catherine A-ludwig, Catherine Aakjar, Catherine Aaknes, Catherine Aalfs, Catherine Aaltonen, Catherine Aanderud, Catherine Aardema, Catherine Aarts, Catherine Aarup, Catherine Abad, More results

Author: Cathy Serpico

Facts about CatherineRDF feed
Gender female  +
Length 9  +
Meaning pure one  +
Meaningnc pure one  +
Name catherine  +
Origin {{{origin}}}  +
Popularity 2  +
Pronunciation Cath-er-inn  +
Rank in 2000s 107  +
Related Caitlin  +, Cate  +, Cath  +, Catharine  +, Cathryn  +, Cathy  +, Catlyn  +, Kady  +, Kaitie  +, Kaity  +, Kaki  +, Kat  +, Kate  +, Katey  +, Kath  +, Katharyn  +, Katherin  +, Katherine  +, Katheryn  +, Katheryne  +, Kathi  +, Kathie  +, Kathryn  +, Kathy  +, Kati  +, Katie  +, Katlina  +, Katy  +, Katya  +, Katyusha  +, Kay  +, Kayley  +, Kit  +, Kitty  +, and Trina  +
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