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Updated March 7, 2024

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Girl name origins & meanings

  • Greek : Pure

What Does Catherine Mean and Stand For? 

The name Catherine comes from the Greek word katharos, which means pure. It has a long history as the name of many European saints and monarchs. 

Syllables: 2

How Popular Is The Name Catherine

Family name origins & meanings

  • French and English : from the medieval female personal name Catherine, Latin Caterina. This is of uncertain origin, being first attested in Greek in the form Aikaterinē but later affected by folk etymological associations with Greek katharos ‘pure’. It was borne by various early Christian saints, and was popular throughout the Middle Ages.

Famous people with this first name

What Does the Name Catherine Mean? 

Catherine is a girls' name of Greek origin, meaning "pure." It comes from the Greek word katharos ("pure").Catherine has long been a popular name, dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period in Britain.

Catherine is a name with a rich history as a name of many European saints and royals. Saint Catherine of Alexandria was a 4th century Roman matyr, Saint Catherine of Siena was an Italian nun, Catherine II "The Great" was an Empress of Russia, and Catherine of Navarre was the queen Navarre (now a part of Spain). In England, Catherine has been the name of many Queens, including three of Henry VII's wives: Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Par. 

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is the wife of the English Prince and future king, William. 

How Popular is the Name Catherine? 

Catherine is the #325 most popular girls' name in the U.S., according to 2021 Social Security Administration data. It was a popular name in the early 2000s, ranking #81 in 2001. It has since been declining in popularity. 

However, Catherine ranks #12 on 

According to Google search data analysis, in the last five years Catherine was at its peak popularity in May 2020. 

Popularity of the Name Catherine in the United States

Catherine was searched for most often in the following states: 

  • District of Columbia 
  • Connecticut
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire 

Famous People Named Catherine and Catherine in Pop Culture 

Famous Catherine's include the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine (Kate) Middleton, singer Catherine (Kate) Bush, and actresses Catherine (Kate) Bosworth, Catherine (Cate) Blanchett, Catherine Zeta Jones, Catherine Tate, and Catherine Keener. 

The name Catherine features in literature such as Emily Brontë's Wurthering Heights, Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

In movies and TV, the name Catherine features in Basic Instinct, Beauty and the Beast, C.S.I., Downton Abbey, Veep, and the Marvel Universe. 

Pairs Well with These Middle Names

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