(French) form of Natalia, adopted from Russian in the early 20th century, probably, like Nadine, under the influence of Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, which was established in Paris in 1909. The name is now very common in France and in the English-speaking world, where it was borne by the actress Natalie Wood (1938–81). She was born Natasha Gurdin, in San Francisco. Her father was of Russian descent, her mother of French extraction.
English, Scottish, and Irish: from Middle English whit ‘white’, hence a nickname for someone with white hair or an unnaturally pale complexion. In some cases it represents a Middle English personal name, from an Old English byname, Hwīt(a), of this origin. As a Scottish and Irish surname it has been widely used as a translation of the many Gaelic names based on bán ‘white’ (see Bain 1) or fionn ‘fair’ (see Finn 1). There has also been some confusion with Wight.