A versatile, international classic

Catherine (Yekaterina) the Great (née Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg) as a Grand Duchess

Though I’ve previously featured the many nicknames for Katherine in all its forms, and my personal favourite forms of the name, I’ve never done a post on the name itself in all of its many international variations.

Katherine derives from the Greek name Aikaterine, which has a disputed etymology. It may come from another Greek name, Hekaterine, with the root hekateros (each of the two), or be derived from Hecate/Hekate (possibly from the root hekas, far off). It also may come from the Greek word aikia (torture), or a Coptic name meaning “my consecration of your name.” Eventually, it became associated with the Greek word katharos (pure), and the Latin spelling was thus changed from Katerina to Katharina.

The name has been extraordinarily popular ever since the fourth century, on account of St. Catherine of Alexandria, an early Christian martyr. Because some scholars believe she was fictitious or confused with Neo-Platonist philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria and St. Dorothea of Alexandria, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969. In 2002, she was put back in as an optional memorial.

Princess Katarina Konstantinović of Serbia, 1848–1910

The spelling Katherine has long been a staple of the U.S. Top 100, from 1880–1934, in 1936, and 1940–2016. Its highest rank to date was #25 in 1991. The spelling Catherine (which is also French) has also long been a Top 100 mainstay, from 1880–1997 and 1999–2001. It was in the Top 50 until 1939, and then again from 1942–61, with its highest rank of #18 in 1914 and 1917.

Kathryn was in the U.S. Top 100 from 1881–1928, 1941–68, and 1974–2001. Its highest rank was #45 in 1951.

Other forms of the name include:

1. Katharina is German and Scandinavian.

2. Katarina is Scandinavian, German, Slovenian, Sorbian, Serbian, and Croatian. The alternate form Katarína is Slovak.

3. Katarzyna is Polish.

4. Kateryna is Ukrainian.

5. Katsyaryna is Belarusian.

6. Katariina is Estonian and Finnish.

7. Katerina is Macedonian, Bulgarian, Russian, and Greek. Kateřina is Czech, and Katerína is Icelandic.

8. Katarin is Breton.

9. Katelijn is Flemish.

10. Katelijne is also Flemish.

Hungarian singer and actor Katalin Karády (1910–1990), who was posthumously honoured by Yad Vashem in 2004 as Righteous Among the Nations for hiding a group of Jewish children in her apartment

11. Katharine is German and English.

12. Katalin is Hungarian and Basque.

13. Kattalin is also Basque.

14. Kotryna is Lithuanian.

15. Katrina is English. The alternate form Katrīna is Latvian; Katrína is Icelandic; and Katrîna is Greenlandic.

16. Kakalina is Hawaiian. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this name in an Anglophone area.

17. Katell is Breton.

18. Kateri is Mohawk, pronounced Gah-deh-lee.

19. Katarzëna is Kashubian.

20. Kateryn is Manx.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, 1656–1680

21. Kattrin is a rare Coptic form.

22. Catarina is Portuguese, Galician, Gascon, Occitan, Provençal, Languedocian, Aragonese, and Sicilian.

23. Caterina is Italian, Galician, and Romanian.

24. Catrin is Welsh.

25. Catalina is Spanish, Corsican, Sardinian, Occitan, Catalan, and Galician. The alternate form Cǎtǎlina is Romanian.

26. Caderina is Sardinian.

27. Caitrìona is Scottish.

28. Catriona is Irish and Scottish.

29. Catala is Asturian.

30. Gadarine is a rare Armenian form.

Russian human rights activist and humanitarian Yekaterina Pavlovna Peshkova, 1887–1965

31. Kaa’dren is Sami Skolt.

32. Kasia is Vilamovian. This is also a Polish nickname for Katarzyna.

33. Catheleine is Picard.

34. Cathrène is Norman.

35. Cath’rinne is Jèrriaias.

36. Katel is a rare Cornish form.

37. Katarino is Esperanto.

38. Keteriine is Yakut.

39. Chatrina is Romansh.

40. Ekaterine is Georgian.

41. Ekaterina is Bulgarian and Macedonian.

42. Yekaterina is Russian.

A to Z reflections 2021

This was my eighth year doing the A to Z Challenge with this blog, my tenth with two blogs. Much to my disappointment, for the fourth year in a row I had to suffice with a fairly simple theme, one I didn’t need to do a huge amount of research for. I remain hopeful I can return to more research-intensive themes in the coming years.

For the third year running, I didn’t start writing and researching my posts on either blog till March. Maybe someday I’ll be at liberty to resume my former habit of putting my posts together many months in advance, and returning to more research-heavy themes on my names blog. There’s just such a theme I’ve been wanting to do here since 2017, and I’ve not forgotten about it.

As always, I featured both female and male names on each day, unless I failed to find names for both, and alternated which sex each post started with. Though I’ve done six each the last few years, there were a number of days this year I ended up with fewer than six, or more than six.

Since Italian doesn’t have certain letters, K, Q, W, X, and Y had to be wildcard days.

Seeing as this year, 2021, is Dante’s 700th Jahrzeit (death anniversary) year, I considered revisiting my 2016 theme of Divine Comedy names. There were plenty of names I had on my list but opted against, and I could’ve easily done wildcards for the few letters without any names or whose few names I already did. But since I didn’t have much lead time, and have never repeated a theme on either blog, I decided to go with the related theme of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names.

For whatever reason, I’ve tended to have bad luck when clicking on links in the master A to Z list the last few years. Many bloggers gave up early or never started, and I even found one without a link. The theme sounded great, but there was no way to check it out from a hyperlink!

Also annoying are blogs without the option to comment or where we have to sign up with a unique-to-the-blogger commenting service, or a really uncommon commenting interface.

As other people have been noticing, participation does seem down in recent years. Then again, the medium of blogging itself has undergone a lot of changes over the past decade. Many of the bloggers I knew 5–10 years ago have entirely stopped blogging or moved to a much more infrequent schedule.

Post recap:

The As of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Bs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Cs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Ds of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Es of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Fs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Gs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Hs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Is of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Js of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Ks of Medieval German names
The Ls of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Ms of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Ns of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Os of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Ps of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Qs of Medieval Mongolian, Arabic, Dutch, English, and Scandinavian names
The Rs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Ses of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Ts of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Us of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Vs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names
The Ws of Medieval English, German, Slavic, French, Norman, Flemish, and Cornish names
The Xs of Medieval Galician, Spanish, and Basque names
The Ys of Medieval Scandinavian, Breton, Basque, Flemish, French, Cornish, Galician, and Spanish names
The Zs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

The Zs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

Female names:

Zaneta (T) is a diminutive of Giovanna, a feminine form of John.

Zebaina (I)

Zelante (T)

Zuana (T) is a feminine form of Zuane, a Venetian form of Giovanni (i.e., John). It means “God is gracious.”

Male names:

Zane (I) is a Venetian form of Gianni, a short form of Giovanni.

Zilio (T) is a form of Gilio, which I suspect ultimately derives from Giles. Its origins are the Latin name Aegidus and the Greek word aigidion (young goat).

Zorzi (I) is a form of Giorgio (i.e., George), and means “farmer.” This is a surname in modern Italy.

The Vs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

Female names:

Veniera (T) is a feminine form of Veniero, which ultimately derives from Venus (love, sexual desire). Its root is Proto–Indo–European *wenh₁- (to love, to wish).

Verderia (I) is probably related to the Italian word verde (green).

Verderosa (I) means “green rose.”

Verdiana (I) is a shortened form of Veridiana, which itself is a form of Viridiana. They’re all feminine forms of the Roman surname Viridianus and Greek name Viridios, of possible Celtic origin. It may derive from Proto–Celtic root wird (green) or wirja (truth), combined with the prefix di- (from, has). The Latin word viridis also means “green.”

Vermilia (I) derives from the Latin word vermiculus (little worm), the origin of the English word “vermin.” This worm was used to make crimson dye, and thus the origin of another word, vermillion.

Veronese means “woman from Verona.”

Villana (I) means “feudal tenant.”

Vivinna (I)

Male names:

Venture (I) means “fortune.” This was sometimes also used as a nickname for Bonaventure.

Villanus (I) means “farmhand.”

Vincentio (I) is a form of Vincent (to conquer).

Volta (T)

The Us of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

Male names:

Ugolino (I) is a superdiminutive of Ugo, which ultimately derives from Hugo/Hugh (see below). One of the most famous stories in The Divine Comedy features the infamous Count Ugolino della Gherardesca eternally gnawing at the skull of Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini.

Urso (I) derives from the Latin word ursus (bear).

Female names:

Ubaldesca (I) is a feminine form of Ubaldo, which derives from Old High German name Hugbald. Its roots are hugu (mind, thought, spirit) and bald (bold).

Uga (I) is a feminine form of Hugo/Hugh, which derives from Ancient Germanic root hug (spirit, heart, mind).