What does Charles mean?
Charles \ch(ar)-les\ as a boys' 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 variants: 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 men (#8 out of 1220, Top 1%) and also a very popular surname for both adults and children (#537 out of 88799, Top 1%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Displayed below is the birth name popularity of Charles for boys. Charles reached its highest rank of #5 in the U.S. during the years 1920-1929, and is at #51 currently. (Top 1000 Birth Names Statistics, 2014)
Below is a charted comparison of the usage of Charles and associated names. Carlos (#117 in 2014), Charlie (#225), Arlo (#539), Carl (#613), Chad (#703), Chip, Chuck, Karl, Chaz, Curley, Carlo, Carroll, Cary, Charley, Carrol and Chas are the prominent varying forms of Charles (#51 in 2014). Usage of these boy names was at its highest during the years 1960-1969 and is now much lower, with forms like Chad, Carl, Karl, Carlo and Chaz falling out of style. Arlo (#539), Charlie (#225) and Carlos (#117) are three of the more trendy boy names here, and there is also a revival in baby name usage for Arlo and Charlie. (Top 1000 Birth Names Statistics, 2014)