Short form of Katherine (or any of its variant spellings), reflecting the French pronunciation with -t- for -th-, which was also usual in medieval England. This short form has been continuously popular since the Middle Ages, and is now frequently used as an independent given name. It was used by Shakespeare for two important characters: the daughter of the King of France who is wooed and won by King Henry V, and the ‘shrew’ in The Taming of the Shrew.
English and Scottish: habitational name from any of the numerous and widespread places so called. The majority of these are named with Old English middel ‘middle’ + tūn ‘enclosure’, ‘settlement’; a smaller group, with examples in Cumbria, Kent, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, Nottinghamshire, and Staffordshire, have as their first element Old English mylen ‘mill’.