Monday, July 22, 2013

Ode to Catherine

Royal Monogram via Wikipedia

With everyone waiting for the arrival of the royal baby, and the announcement of his/her name, I wanted to fill the meantime with thoughts on the name of the woman who is carrying the future king or queen... Catherine. Concentrating not so much on the background and meaning of the name, but on the popularity of its different spellings in the United States.

Catherine was the top spelling when records began in 1880, ranking at #31. It has also held the name's highest ranking ever at #18 in 1914 and 1917. It fell out of the Top 100 in 1998, reentered it the following year, and then fell out again in 2002. It currently sits at #167.

Katherine ranked at #53 in 1880 and has never ranked below #105, which it did in 1938. It's highest ranking was #25 in 1991 and it is currently the highest ranked spelling, sitting at #64. If you take a look at the final analysis of my "Where Are They Now" series, Katherine is considered a "roller-coaster name" in that it has had a series of rises and dips over the years.

Kathryn ranked at #103 in 1880. It has never been as popular as Catherine and Katherine, with the highest ranking of #45 coming in 1951, but it's consistently been in the Top 300. It currently sits at it's lowest rank at #266. Many argue that Kathryn has one less syllable than Catherine and is therefore a different name, but since I pronounce them the same, I'm including it in the mix.

Katharine ranked at #172 in 1880. It has only decreased in popularity since then, finally falling out of the Top 1000 after 2006.

Catharine ranked at #296 in 1880. It rose to #251 in 1881, but fell from there, leaving the Top 1000 for good after 1966.

Those are the top spellings of Catherine. Various other spellings have been and are now being used (number of births in 2012):

Catharine (11)
Catherin (9)
Catherine (1887)
Catheryn (8)
Catheryne (6)
Cathrine (8)
Cathryn (53)
Katharine (106)
Katherin (43)
Katherine (3923)
Katheryn (85)
Katheryne (24)
Kathren (6)
Kathrine (42)
Kathryn (1213)
Kathryne (13)

What is your favorite spelling of Catherine?

I had asked this question on my old blog back in January 2008. Here are the results and my thoughts at the time. I have to update my vote though. Catherine is currently my favorite, with Katharine in second. I do still like Kathryn, but not as much as I did 5 1/2 years ago. It was interesting to look back!



  1. I think this 'Catheryne' spelling will be the unique one, as it doesn't have so many people count in that. You also can go for another name too. Why Catherine?

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