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William meaning and name origin
William \wi(l)-liam\ as a boy's name is pronounced WIL-yum. It is of Old German origin, and the meaning of William is "will helmet, protection". For a long time after the Norman conquest in AD 1066, three out of four English boys were given some form of the conqueror's name, William. Short forms and variants came into being with a common basic meaning of "will", "determined", or "resolute". William has remained a royal name in the UK for nearly one thousand years. The firstborn son of the current Prince of Wales is named William. Wilhelm is a German form; actor Willem Dafoe has made the Dutch form familiar since the 1980s. See also Willard. Playwright William Shakespeare; actors William Hurt, Billy Crudup, Bill Pullman; film director Wim Wenders; poet William Blake; author William Faulkner; American Presidents William H. Harrison, William H. Taft, William McKinley; Bill Clinton.
William has 34 variant forms: Bill, Bille, Billie, Billy, Guglielmo, Guillaume, Guillermo, Liam, Vilhelm, Villem, Wilek, Wiley, Wilhelm, Wilhelmus, Wilkes, Wilkie, Wilkinson, Will, Willem, Willhelmus, Willi, Williams, Williamson, Willie, Willis, Willkie, Wills, Willson, Willy, Wilmer, Wilmot, Wilmott, Wilson and Wim.
For more information, see also the related name Bo.
Baby names that sound like William are Eilam and Eliam.
View a list of the 48 names that reference William.
Popularity of William
William is a very popular first name for men (#5 out of 1220) and also a very popular surname or last name for all people (#731 out of 88799). (1990 U.S. Census)
Displayed below is the baby names popularity of the name William for boys. (2010 statistics) Compare William with its variant forms and related boy baby names.