A Confusion of Kates

Yesterday, a friend shared with one of our editors this awesome FB post:

We wondered what would happen if we tried to do a similar chart, but of all the medieval forms of Katherine that we’ve collected so far. Ours isn’t nearly as systematic, but it is much more varied (click on the image to see it in larger format):

Variants of Katherine

It also shows that there are a lot of gaps. Not every combination in the table is possible — one wouldn’t combine Italian Chata- with German/Slavic -russcha, for instance — but there are a number of gaps that we might eventually find/fill, such as Katheline, Cattelyne, Cataryn, Catlyn, Katharin! Who would’ve thought a single name could be so varied and so interesting? My favorites are the Quat- spellings. What are your favorites? Share with us in the comments!


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5 responses to “A Confusion of Kates

  1. Cathlyne is in the “lyncken” row 🙂

    Also I’m surprised that you don’t have any -rien endings, seeing that “Katrien” has been the default Dutch form for centuries. I don’t know how many centuries though!

    • Arg, did I get something misplaced?! I’ll have to fix that and update the image.

      Yeah, now that you mention it, I’m surprised I haven’t had any -rien ones yet. Add that to the list of spellings I won’t be at all surprised to find one day.

    • Brian M. Scott

      I suspect that most early instances of Katrien are masked by Latinization, but I found a Katrien Dirc Beynkins from 1391 on page 111 of this transcription [PDF] of the accounts of one Dirk Bijlman. She appears numerous times, usually as Katrijn Dirc Beynkins, and the spelling Katrijn is used for several other bearers of the name. That adds two forms to the table. (Hullo, Irina!)

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