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 on this name, see also the related boy name Bo.
William is a very prominent first name for men (#5 out of 1220, Top 1%) and also a very prominent surname for all people (#731 out of 88799, 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)
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 this boy name was at its most widespread during the years 1920-1929 and is now significantly less, 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)