Origin:Irish
Popularity:1843
Meaning:pure
Born from the Greek-inspired Catherine, Kathleen is a distinctly Irish feminine variation that retains its meaning as "pure." As the anglicized form of the Gaelic Caitlín, Kathleen interweaves seamlessly with the legendary Countess of Cathleen—bolstering its associations with honor and idealism. Created by William Butler Yeats, the beautiful countess famously sells her soul to the devil to feed her tenants during the Great Famine. So selfless was her act that God redeemed her soul upon her death and ascended her to heaven. Closer again is the mythical figure of Kathleen Ni Houlihan, who personified Ireland and its struggle for independence—her appearance serving as a rallying cry.

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Source: Social Security Administration

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