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GenderFeminine
UsageEnglish
PronouncedPron.KATH-ə-rin
, KATH-rin
[key]

Meaning & History

From the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine). The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine), which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros) "each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia) "torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos) "pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina to Katharina to reflect this.

The name was borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel. The saint was initially venerated in Syria, and returning crusaders introduced the name to Western Europe. It has been common in England since the 12th century in many different spellings, with Katherine and Catherine becoming standard in the later Middle Ages.

Famous bearers of the name include Catherine of Siena, a 14th-century mystic, and Catherine de' Medici, a 16th-century French queen. It was also borne by three of Henry VIII's wives, including Katherine of Aragon, and by two empresses of Russia, including Catherine the Great.
Other Languages & CulturesAikaterine Ancient Greek Katalin, Kattalin Basque Katsiaryna Belarusian Katarin, Katell Breton Ekaterina, Katerina, Katia, Katya Bulgarian Caterina Catalan Katarina, Kata, Kate, Katica, Tina Croatian Kateřina, Katka Czech Cathrine, Katarina, Kathrine, Katrine, Caja, Carina, Ina, Kaja, Karen, Karin, Karina, Katharina, Katja, Trine Danish Catharina, Katelijn, Katelijne, Katrien, Katrijn, Katrina, Cato, Ina, Karin, Katinka, Katja, Rina, Rini, Riny, Tina, Tineke, Trijntje Dutch Kadri, Katariina, Katrin, Kaia, Kaisa, Kaja, Kati, Riina, Triinu Estonian Katariina, Katriina, Iina, Kaarina, Kaija, Kaisa, Karin, Kata, Kati, Katja, Katri, Riina Finnish Catherine, Carine, Karine French Nienke, Nine, Nynke Frisian Catarina Galician Ekaterine, Eka Georgian Katharina, Katherina, Katrin, Katrina, Carina, Cathrin, Catrin, Ina, Karen, Karin, Karina, Katarina, Katarine, Katharine, Käthe, Kathrin, Katinka, Katja German Aikaterini, Ekaterini, Katerina, Katina, Kaiti, Keti Greek Kakalina, Kalena Hawaiian Kateri History Katalin, Kata, Katalinka, Kati, Katica, Katinka, Kató, Kitti Hungarian Katrín, Karen Icelandic Caitlín, Caitlin, Caitríona, Cathleen, Catriona, Kathleen, Cáit, Caitria, Catrina, Ríona Irish Caterina, Catia, Katia, Katiuscia, Rina Italian Katerina Late Roman Ina Limburgish Kotryna, Katrė Lithuanian Ekaterina, Katerina, Katina Macedonian Cateline Medieval French Cathrine, Katarina, Kathrine, Katrine, Carina, Ina, Kaia, Kaja, Karen, Kari, Karin, Karina, Karine, Katharina, Katja Norwegian Catarina Occitan Katarzyna, Karina, Kasia Polish Catarina, Cátia Portuguese Cătălina, Catina, Ecaterina Romanian Ekaterina, Jekaterina, Yekaterina, Karina, Katenka, Katerina, Katia, Katya, Katyusha Russian Caderina Sardinian Caitrìona, Catriona, Catrina Scottish Katarina Serbian Katarína, Katka Slovak Katarina, Kaja, Katica, Katja Slovene Catalina, Lina Spanish Cathrine, Catrine, Katarina, Katrin, Katrina, Cajsa, Carin, Carina, Catharina, Ina, Kai, Kaj, Kaja, Kajsa, Karin, Karina, Katharina, Katja Swedish Kateryna, Katia, Katya Ukrainian Catrin, Cadi Welsh

Images

Depiction of Saint Katherine of AlexandriaDepiction of Saint Katherine of Alexandria

Categories

archers, Desperate Housewives characters, empresses, martyrs, Marvel characters, never out of the US top 1000, Power Rangers characters, queens, saints, Star Trek characters, True Detective characters, uncertain etymology
Entry updated December 8, 2017