William meaning, boyWilliam

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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 "determined protector". From wil meaning "will", "desire" and helm meaning "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. See also Willard. Playwright William Shakespeare; actors Willem Dafoe, 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 boy name Bo.

There are 3 feminine forms of William: Billie, Willa and Wilmot.


William is a very popular first name for males (#5 out of 1220, Top 0%) and also a very popular surname or last name for all people (#731 out of 88799, Top 1%) (2000 U.S. Census).

Displayed below is the baby name popularity of the name William for boys (2014 statistics).

Top 1000 baby names ranking of William name in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of William outside U.S.

Displayed below is a comparison of the popularity of the boy name William and its variant forms. Popular variation forms ranked in the Top 1000/100 are Liam (#2), William (#5), Wilson (#594), Bo (#638), Guillermo (#678), Willie (#722), Will (#763), Billy (#794), Willis, Willy, Wilmer, Wiley, Willem, Bill, Willard, Billie, Wilhelm and Williams. (2014 statistics).

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Liam, William, Wilson, Bo, Guillermo, Willie, Will, Billy, Willis, Willy in U.S.

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Wilmer, Wiley, Bill, Willard, Billie, Wilhelm, Williams in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Liam, William, Wilson, Will, Billy outside U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Wilmer, Willem, Wilhelm outside U.S.