When I asked my Mom how I came to be a Kate (Katharine) she told me the same story she has for years. It’s her favorite girl name thus, because I have two older brothers, when I was born and my parents found out I was a girl, Kate it was! Momma Rolfes reports that she never met a Kate she didn’t like. Additionally, she really liked the British spelling which is Katharine spelled “-ar” rather than “-er.” I like this spelling much better as well, especially because that is how Katharine Hepburn spelled her name.

On a more religious end, both of my parents are Catholic and grew up receiving saint books and holy cards. My Mom’s favorite was St. Catherine Laboure and the story of the miraculous medal. Katharine means “pure” and “grace” according to its roots which are not bad words to be associated with. (Urban Dictionary stands by this definition as well. You can see the full definition in the banner of this entry.)

Upon being asked what I would have been named if I were a boy, my Mom responded promptly with “Spike.” Luckily, I have no younger brothers so this never came to fruition or else I would have a little brother that shared a name with a character from Land Before Time….


Thank goodness she was joking and I would have been a Nicholas instead.

As far as “Rolfes” goes, Wikipedia says:

The unusual English surname Rolfe derives ultimately from the Old Scandinavian and Germanic pre 5th century personal name “Hrodwulf”. This was composed of the elements “hrod”, meaning “renown”, and “wulf”, a wolf.

To be 100% honest I’m not sure this definition does much good in explaining the meaning aside from it being of German decent. However, being from Cincinnati, most people could have guessed as much.




5 thoughts on “Katharine”

  1. I am a middle child with an older sister and younger brother. Because I am the second girl, I have called out my mom a couple of times for choosing the name Julia over Kendall. Older siblings probably don’t think too much into this. Also, in high school, I read a Scandinavian epic called Beowulf. It was about a hero and his several quests. You should look into it! He became a Scandinavian king or something like that. Maybe the ‘wulf’ aspect connects you to this.


  2. I think it’s funny that a name as relatively common as Kate can have so many varieties; Katharine, Katherine, Catherine, Kathy, etc… I like that you found the individuality in your name and embrace that. I’m also glad you’re not named Spike!


  3. As far as religiously-derived names, I think Katharine has nicer associations then Dolores (pains) or two of my Spanish aunts, Mercedes (Mercies) and Consuelo (Consolation).


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