Catherine, Katherine, Kathryn

Name Nerds main

FOR REAL: Catherine (as it was originally spelled, since it was introduced into English before the letter K) comes from the Greek name Aikaterine. In the middle ages, scholars believed this name to be linked with the Greek word aikia, meaning "torture." This meaning fitted in with the image of the 4th century saint Catherine of Alexandria, who was martyred on a spiked wheel (which came to be known as a "Catherine Wheel"). Later on in the middle ages, scholars linked the name to the Greek word katharos, meaning "pure." That's how the "h" came to be added. We really don't know the true meaning of the name, but since it has been linked to the word "pure" for several centuries, that's what it's most commonly listed as meaning.

diminutives: Kate, Katie, Kathy, Cathy, Kay, Kit, Kitty

related names: Caitlin, Katelyn, Kathleen, Katya, Kaia/Kaja, other forms

Other recorded spellings: Cathryn, Katharine, Catharine, Katheryn