Word Origin & History
fem. proper name, from M.L. Katerina, from Gk. Aikaterina. The -h- was introduced 16c., a folk etymology from Gk. katheros "pure." The initial Gk. vowel is preserved in Russian form Ekaterina. As the name of a type of pear, attested from 1641. Catherine wheel (early 13c.) is named for St. Catherine of
Alexandria, legendary virgin martyr from the time of Maximinus. Her name day is Nov. 25. A popular saint in the Middle Ages, which accounts for the popularity of the given name.