William meaning, boyWilliam

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What does William mean?

William \wi(l)-liam\ as a boys' 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 variants: 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.

William has 2 more different forms via Bill, Willard: Byll and Willerd.

William has 3 feminine forms: Billie, Willa and Wilmot.


William is a very prominent first name for men (#5 out of 1220, Top 1%) and also a very prominent surname for all people (#1923 out of 150436, Top 1%). (2000 U.S. Census)

Presented below is the birth name popularity of William for boys. William reached its peak rank of #2 in the U.S. during 1910-1919, and is currently at #5. (2014 Birth Statistics)

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

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

Below is a graphed comparison of the usage of the boy name William and related names. Bill, Billie, Billy (#794 last year), Bo (#638), Guillermo (#678), Liam (#2), Wiley, Wilhelm, Will (#763), Willard, Williams, Willie (#722), Willis, Willy, Wilmer and Wilson (#594) are the prominent related forms of William (#5 last year) listed in the Top 1000. Usage of these boy names was at its most widespread during 1920-1929 (usage of 0.571%) and is now significantly less (usage 0.2238%, down 60.8%), with versions like Billy, Guillermo, Will, Willie and Wilson falling out of fashion. Bo (#638) and Liam (#2) are two of the more fashionable baby names in this compilation. (2014 Birth Statistics)

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Bill, Billie, Billy, Bo, Guillermo, Liam, Wiley, Wilhelm, Will, Willard in U.S.

Top 1000 baby names ranking of William, Williams, Willie, Willis, Willy, Wilmer, Wilson in U.S.

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