By now we’ve all seen the Vanity Fair story about Bruce Jenner revealing her new identity as Caitlyn Jenner, complete with Annie Liebovitz cover photo and reaching 1 million Twitter followers in record time. But what’s behind the name Caitlyn & how did Bruce Jenner ultimately decide that Caitlyn was the name that best represented who she truly is?
“It’s one of the hardest things in life—choosing your own name,” Jenner said in her Vanity Fair interview.
We have the name Caityln listed as being of American origin, though it’s derived from the name Irish/Celtic name Caitlin and is generally understood to mean “pure“, due to the Greek word καθαρός (katharos, “pure”) though the name did not actually evolve from this word.
Formerly Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner decided to buck the longstanding trend of spelling her name with a K, as is the standard way in the Kardashian family. According to TMZ, this was intentional in order to have a clean break from the Kardashian family.
More from the Vanity Fair article:
One way she attempted to come up with ideas was by watching the Miss America pageant. She’d survey some of the contestants to get ideas and see if any of them fit. She also liked the names Heather or Cathy. But Caitlyn also stuck out prominently in her mind. When her assistant, Rhonda, at one point independently suggested Caitlyn, Jenner said, “I love that name, too!” The coincidence helped seal the deal.
With the name itself set, Jenner went back and forth about how it would be spelled, between “k” and “c” as the first letter—no small task in the Jenner/Kardashian family, with its trademark “k” names. Finally, she decided it was best to break tradition, and the media associations that went with it. She settled on “c.”
According to Wikipedia:
“The name originated in Ireland as Caitlín and is the Irish variation of the Old French name Cateline, which was derived from Catherine, which was derived from the Ancient Greek Αἰκατερίνη (Aikaterine). Catherine is attributed to St. Catherine of Alexandria. The name also means torture, which is Gaelic.”