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.

The Ks of Medieval German names

Since there are no Italian names starting with K, today is a wildcard letter. I chose German names as a substitute, since there are so many with this letter, and I only used one German K name when I did my general Medieval names theme in 2018.

Male names:

Kalogreant is the German form of Calogreant, a Knight of the Round Table. He’s associated with the mythological Welsh hero Cynon ap (son of) Clydno.

Kankor probably derives from the Old High German word kanker (spider), which took on the secondary meaning “weaver.”

Kitan is a Silesian nickname for Kristian (i.e., Christian).

Kraft, Krafft means “power, force.” Because of its traditional usage, particularly with noble families, this is one of the few words permitted as a name in modern Germany.

Kunz is a nickname for Konrad (brave counsel). This was a very popular name.

Female names:

Katrey is a form of Katharina inspired by names like Offmey (Euphemia) and Sophey.

Katusch is a nickname for Katharina.

Ketha is a form of Käthe, a nickname for Katharina.

Ketherlein, Ketherlin, Kaetherlin, Keterlyn, and Ketherlin are nicknames for Katharina.

Kunhaus means “kin house.”

Kunizza is a nickname for names starting with the root kuni (family, clan) or kuoni (brave).

Curly names

To mark the 69th Jahrzeit (death anniversary) of the great comedian Curly Howard (Jerome Lester Horwitz) (right), here are some names meaning “curly.” There’s a long tradition of opposite nicknames, like a fat guy called Slim or a bald guy called Curly.

Male:

Caiside means “curly-haired” in Ancient Irish, from root cas. The modern unisex name Cassidy derives from the surname O’Caiside (descendant of Caiside).

Cincinnatus means “curly-haired” in Latin.

Crispus also means “curly-haired” in Latin.

Kåre means “curly, curved” in Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish, from Old Norse name Kári.

Kårfinn is a rare Norwegian name made of elements kárr (curly/wavy hair) and Finnr (Finn, Lapp).

Karleiv is also Norwegian, combining kárr and leif (inheritance, legacy).

Kárr means “curly-haired” and “reluctant, obstinate” in Old Norse.

Kár-Tóki means “curly-haired Thor” in Old Norse.

Óðinkárr means “curly haired inspiration/rage/frenzy” in Ancient Scandinavian.

Visa means “curly birch” in Finnish.

Female:

Buklore means “curly-haired” in Albanian.

Dada means “curly hair” in Yoruba. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this in an Anglophone country.

Fatila means “curly” in Uzbek.

Holy means “curly” in Malagasy, the national language of Madagascar.

Kára means “curly, curved” in Old Norse, from root kárr. A Valkyrie had this name.

Kárhildr means “curly-haired fight” or “obstinate/reluctant fight” in Old Norse.

Khoibi means “curly-haired daughter” in Manipuri (also called Meitei), a Sino–Tibetan language spoken in northeastern India.

Olitiana is Malagasy, a combination of oly (curly, curly hair) and tiana (to be loved, to be liked).

All about Cyprian

Polish writer and artist Cyprian Norwid, 1821–1883

Cyprian is a Polish and English name which originated with Roman family name Cyprianus (from Cyprus). The variant Cyprián is Slovak. I’ve always found this a really cool, fun, quirky, distinctive name.

Other forms include:

1. Cipriano is Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

2. Ciprian is Romanian. The variation Ciprián is Hungarian and Aragonese.

3. Cyprien is French.

4. Cebrián is Spanish.

5. Cibrán is Galician. The variation Cíbran is Occitan.

6. Cebrià is Catalan.

7. Ciprià is a rare Catalan form.

8. Çipriani is Albanian.

9. Ciprianu is Corsican.

10. Cypriaan is Dutch.

Romanian–American mathematician Ciprian Foias, 1933–2020

11. Ciprijan is Croatian. The variant Ćiprijan is Serbian.

12. Cyprión is Kashubian.

13. Cypryjan is Medieval Polish.

14. Kipiren is Basque.

15. Kiprian is Russian.

16. Kiprijonas is Lithuanian.

17. Kvipriane is Georgian.

18. Kyprian is Ukrainian.

19. Kyprianos is Greek.

20. Sybryan is Arabic.

Filipino politician Cipriano Primicias, Sr., 1901–1965

21. Zipriano is Basque.

22. Zipiro is also Basque.

23. Zyprian is a very rare German form.

Female forms:

1. Cypriana is Dutch, English, German, and Latin.

2. Cipriana is Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician.

3. Cyprienne is French.

4. Cypriane is also French.

5. Cyprianne is Medieval French.

French arts patron and philanthropist Cyprienne Dubernet (1857–1945), painted 1891 by Théobald Chartran

Sextuple and septuple syllables

Though most people with very long names tend to use nicknames, there’s great poetry and beauty in a name with many syllables. Names with six or seven syllables aren’t encountered very often, but they do exist. Most of the ones I found are Hawaiian and Greek, with a few Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese names.

This unusual class of names includes:

Unisex:

Hokuokalani (means “star of the heavens” in Hawaiian)
Kalahikiola (means “the life-giving Sun” in Hawaiian)
Kalauokalani (means “the leaf of the heavens” in Hawaiian)
Kaleikaumaka (composed of Hawaiian words ka [the], lei [lei], kau [place], and maka [eye])
Kaleiokalani (means “the garland of the heavens” in Hawaiian)
Kaleoikaika (means “the mighty voice” in Hawaiian)
Kealaonalani (means “the path to the heavens” in Hawaiian)
Keʻalohilani (means “the heavenly brightness” or “the bright sky” in Hawaiian)
Kekauililani (means “to ride the waves of heaven” in Hawaiian)
Namakahulali (means “sparkling eyes” in Hawaiian)
Pōhaikealoha (means “love encircles” in Hawaiian)
Pomaikalani (means “apple of the heavens” in Hawaiian)

Female:

Adorazione (means “adoration” in Italian)
Apolinaria
Asklepigeneia (means “born of Asklepios [a god of healing and medicine]” in Greek)
Dionysodoros (means “gift of Dionysus” in Greek)
Eleuteria, Eleutheria (means “free” in Greek)
Emerenciana, Emerenziana
Epaphrodisia (means “lovely, charming” in Greek)
Hellanokrateia (means “power of a Greek” in Greek)
Kalaesakemi (means “Kala is bright and beautiful” in Hawaiian; Kala is the Hawaiian form of Sarah)
Kealalaina (Hawaiian form of Caroline)
Kulukulutea (Hawaiian; couldn’t find the meaning)
Kuʻuleialoha (means “my belovèd child” in Hawaiian)
Lili’uokalani (means “smarting of the highborn one” in Hawaiian)
Liluokalani (name of the Hawaiian Queen who gave up her country’s independence to the U.S.)
Maximiliana, Massimiliana
Mailelauliʻi (means “small leaf maile plant” in Hawaiian)
Moanikeʻala (means “the fragrance is windblown” in Hawaiian)
Olympiadora (means “gift from Olympus” in Greek)
Valentiniana

Male:

Akatamaketos (means “invincible” in Greek)
Alekanekelo (Hawaiian form of Alexander)
Asklepiodotos (means “given by Asklepios” in Greek)
Attakullakulla (means “leaning wood” in Cherokee)
Eleuterio, Eleutherios
Emerenciano, Emerenziano
Kahôkûokalani (means “heavenly star” in Hawaiian)
Keakaokalani (means “the heavenly shadow” in Hawaiian)
Maximiliano, Massimiliano, Maximilianus
Olympiodoros
Valentiniano