Meaning and name origin
Charles \ch(ar)-les\ as a boy's name is pronounced charlz. It is of Old German origin, and the meaning of Charles is "free man". From "karl", similar to Old English "churl", meaning "man, serf". The first Holy Roman Emperor (seventh to eighth century) Charlemagne (Latin Carolus Magnus, meaning "Charles the Great") was a powerful German leader who created a more ordered society out of the chaos that followed the fall of Rome. He united France and much of central Europe. His widespread fame gave rise to many forms of his name. Charles is the French variant of Carolus or Karolus, adopted by the English especially since the 17th-century reigns of kings Charles I and II. Charles and its variant forms have been favoured by the royalty of several countries, including the present Prince of Wales. Charlie and Charly are occasionally used for girls. See also Arlo. Naturalist Charles Darwin; French president Charles de Gaulle; author Charles Dickens; actor Charlie Chaplin; basketball player Charles Barkley.
Charles has 27 variant forms: Carel, Carl▼, Carlo▼, Carlos▲, Carrol▼, Carroll▼, Cary▼, Caryl, Chad▼, Charleson, Charley▼, Charlie▲, Charlot, Charls, Charlton, Charly, Chas▼, Chaz▼, Chick, Chip▼, Chuck▼, Karel, Karl▼, Karol, Karolek, Karolik and Karoly.
For more information, see also the related boy name Curley.
Charles is a very popular first name for males (#8 out of 1220, Top 1%) and also a very popular surname or last name for all people (#537 out of 88799, Top 1%) (2000 U.S. Census).
Displayed below is the baby name popularity of the name Charles for boys. Charles reached its highest rank of #5 in the U.S. in 1920-1929. (2014 statistics).
Displayed below is a comparison of the popularity of the boy name Charles and its variant forms. Popular variation forms ranked in the Top 1000/100 are Charles (#51), Carlos (#117), Charlie (#225), Arlo (#539), Carl (#613), Chad (#703), Chip, Chuck, Karl, Chaz, Curley, Carlo, Carroll, Cary, Charley, Carrol and Chas. (2014 statistics).