Of Greek origin.
From the name Αικατερίνη (Aikaterine).
Derives from the early Greek name Εκατερίνη, Hekaterine, which comes from the word “εκάτερος”, meaning “each of the two”.
Other sources mention as possible origin, the name of the goddess Hecate.
In the early Christian era it was associated with the Greek word “καθαρός”, meaning “pure”.
It was later changed from Katerina to the Latin Katharina to reflect this association.
It was the name of the 4th century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel.
Crusaders introduced the name to Western Europe and it became common in England in the 12th century, in different spellings. Katherine and Catherine were the standard forms of the name in the Middle Ages.
Queens in Italy and France were among the name bearers as long as two Russian empresses.
Other forms of the name, diminutives and different languages spellings are Catharine, Katherina, Kathryn, Cathryn, Katalin, Ekaterina, Katyusha, Katarina, Ina, Katica, Tina, Caterina, Karine, Karen, Karin, Katka, Catrina, Katrin, Katalina, Katia, Katja, Cathy, Kat, Kate, Kathie, Katie, Kathy, Kayla, Kitty, Caelie, Cailin, Cailyn, Cate, Kailyn, Kaylee, Catarina, Katerina and more.
The name has also a Native American variant, Kateri, from the Mohawk pronunciation of Katherine, adopted by the 17th century Mohawk woman Tekakwitha when she was baptized.
Famous bearers are Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Caterina Valente, Katherine Heigl, Katarina Witt, Katherine Kelly Lang, Katherine Moennig, Kate Winslet, Kate Bush, Katy Perry, Kate Hudson, Kate Beckinsale, Kate Moss, Katie Holmes, Katie Melua, Kate Middleton.
Katherine, Catherine and variants, are popular in Ireland, Scotland, Greece, Croatia and Chile.
Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones began her career at the age of 12, in a stage performance for the musical “Annie”.
She has won Academy, BAFTA and TONY awards. She’s worked with some of the world’s most acclaimed film directors: S. Soderbergh, R. Marshall, S. Spielberg.