Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Catkin (KAHT-ken, CAT-kin) is a name that, at first, might seem entirely made up for the sole purpose of its cute two-syllable combination. It has a fun and pleasing sound, yet it is a botanical word name (much like Katniss) used to define the flower clusters on some types of trees, including oak, birch, hazel and willow. It came about from the late 16th century Dutch word katteken, meaning "kitten," and probably in reference to the kitten's poofy tail.
Catkin is also a literary name, as seen in Antonia Barber's children's book Catkin, illustrated by P.J. Lynch, and Where is Catkin by Janet Lord. There's another in Cloud Atlas, the book and movie, and a character in The Heir of Mistmantle by Margaret McAllister.
If you are into flower fairy art, it is worth checking out Cicely Mary Barker's illustration from 1923 entitled "Hazel Catkin Fairy" from the book Flower Fairies of the Winter. (Hazel Catkin would be a cute combination, as would Willow Catkin or Birch Catkin - any of the tree names on which catkins cluster.)
Catkin is also a Kilcher name, of "Alaska: The Last Frontier" fame. Yule and Ruth are her parents, and she was a Marine. Her daughter is Ecatrina, sons are Anthony and Edwin. Stellavera is another unique name in her family, and recent movie star Q'orianka is also in the family tree.
Catkin remains so rare and hardly ever given that there are no statistics for its usage, although White Pages claims there are at least two - one likely Catkin Kilcher. However, this name is not a one-person name, and, like its botanical flower seeds, needs to be spread!
Cenawen is the Welsh word name for catkins, pronounced KEN-ah-wehn.