Pronounced: KATH-ə-rin, KATH-rin [key]
Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine)
. The etymology is highly debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine)
, which we believe came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros)
“each of the two”; it could derive from the name of the mighty goddess HECATE; and it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia)
“torture”; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning “my consecration of your name”. The name gained popularity in the Unites States. In the early Christian era it became associated with the Greek καθαρος (katharos)
“pure”, and the Latin spelling was quickly changed from Katerina
to reflect this.The name was borne a (semi-legendary) 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a very spiked wheel. The saint was venerated in Syria, and the name was introduced to the Europeans by the returning crusaders. It has been common in England very much since the 12th century in many different spellings, with Katherine
becoming the 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.
What does that name mean?