Names of the Week: Asher and Katinka

Asher was suggested by PoppySeeds, Katinka was suggested by Tinker.

We covered Asher very briefly in a previous post, but I didn’t want PoppySeeds to feel short-changed with the coverage of her suggested name. So, here is Asher Pt.II.

People of my generation would’ve grown up with Ash, he of Pokémon infamy. I remember sitting infront of the TV and wondering whether Ash’s name was a nickname, a short form of Ashley (A name still mostly male in the UK), or his name was quite simply just Ash, much like Brock and Misty were just Brock and Misty. But this is a deviation from our topic, since Asher is not related to either Ash, Ashley or even Ashton. 

Asher, as we have previously mentioned, is a name that means happy or blessed in Hebrew, coming from the Hebrew term osher. An Asher appears in the Old Testament in the Bible, as the son of Jacob and Zilpah, and a founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, quite cunningly named Asher.

In the Torah, it is argued that the name Asher means happy, therefore meaning it is derived from the Hebrew word osher, as mentioned above, but it could come from either one of two variations:

  • beoshri, which means my fortune.
  • ishsheruni, which is attributed to different sources, one Yahwist, the other Elohist.

Many Scholars also argue that the name Asher has more to do with the deity originally worshipped by the Tribe of Asher, this being either Asherah, or even Ashur, the chief Assyrian diety. The latter is likely to come from the same sources as Asher.

Ashley is now almost completely a female name in the USA, but in the last 100 years, not once has Asher been in the Top 1000 for females, as for it’s success as a male name in the top 1000 is quite recent. He first came into the top 1000 in 1983 at #933, before promptly falling off the next year, then returning at #938 , before disappearing altogther for 6 years. He returned again in 1992 at #960, and has not fallen off since. He’s been climbing rather steadily, in 2009, he broke the top 200, being placed at #165.

Now for Katinka. Suggested by Tinker, and a name that first came to my attention when I was browsing the London Telegraph Birth Announcements, although her origins are likely to not be from England.

Instead, we’re travelling to either Russian or Hungary, where Katinka is a short form of Ekaterina/ Katerina, the Russian/ Hungarian version of Katherine. Like it’s anglicised and other forms, Katinka means pure, coming initially from Greek .

What I like about Katinka is it’s ability to be an unknown name, but one that is not frighteningly so, such as Moádhóg. She also has the rather attractive nickname Tinker. It would work for those who’s guilty pleasure name is Tinkerbell.

Where has Katinka entered our culture? She appeared as the name of a song in Eurovision. But no, it wasn’t the Russian entrant, it was the entrant of the Dutch in 1962. The song was in Dutch, but do not think this makes for a good story for your little Katinka. The song received the dreaded nul points, and had the honour of being one of the first to do so in all of Eurovision’s history. Do not despair however, on the night, it was one of four songs (the others being Spain, Belgium and Austria) that achieved the lowly nul points, which had never been achieved beforehand in Eurovision.

For those of you confused, Eurovision is an annual song competition amongst ‘European’ countries (the marks there since Azerbaijan, a country in Asia, now partakes, amongst other non-European countries). It is mostly perceived as a joke, since block voting by the Eastern European countries began, and turned the competition into a popularity contest.

As for her success in the US, she has never appeared in the Top 1000 in the US. But I think Katinka certainly has potential in the US, since she has the footsteps of Caitlín to follow, another international variant of Katherine that has enjoyed much success in the US of late.

Categories: Names of the Week | Tags: , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Asher and Katinka

  1. Bourneville

    I really like both of these names, worth the wait!


  2. Tinker

    Thanks for doing one of my names! I kind of assumed Katinka was related to Katherine, but I weasn’t sure which Eastern European country it came from.


  3. Shilo

    Both these names are really interesting. I like Asher as the new Ashley for lads, and Katinka is certainly a quirky pick. You do quirky names really well!


  4. Keeva

    I would use both of these names. I remember the Dutch song, it wasn’t ground-breaking. No wonder it got nul points. I agree about the block voting, it’s ruined a friendly competition. Plus Azerbaijan?! Since when has it been in Europe? It’s next door to Iran, isn’t it?


  5. Lotso

    Asher is a meh name for me, I want to like it, but I just can’t. Katinka is a real gem though, I can really see her as the next Caitlín.


  6. Lin

    My son is called Asher, and he loves it. I’m so glad I went for it.


  7. Ada

    I have an Asher as well, and Katinka would make an interesting pick for his sister, should I ever have a second child.


  8. Mitzi

    Katinka is really pretty! Sure a cute alternative for Katherine!


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