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What does William mean?

William Pronunciation of William 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.


ASSOCIATED WITH determined (faithful), norman, conquest (victory)


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, Wim



FEMININE FORMS Billie, Willa, Wilmot



William Jiovanni (W.J.), ..

How popular is William?

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. DEMOGRAPHICS)

William reached its peak rank of #2 in the U.S. in the 1910s, and is currently at #3. (2018 U.S. SSA RECORDS)

Top 2000 baby names ranking of William name in U.S.

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

Which version is better?

Bill, Billie, Billy (#845 FROM RECENT DATA), Bo (#575), Guillermo (#752), Liam (#1), Wiley (#1437), Wilhelm, Wilkie, Will (#892), Willard, Willem, Williams, Willie (#934), Willis, Willy, Wilmer (#1682), Wilmot and Wilson (#622) are the prominent related forms of William (#3) listed in the Top 2000. Usage of these forms of William was more pronounced during 1900-1909 (ADOPTION OF 7.2%) and is now significantly diminished (ADOPTION 2%, 72%), with versions like William becoming less fashionable. Bo and Liam are two of the more fashionable baby names in this compilation.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of William, Bill, Billie, Billy, Bo in U.S.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Guillermo, Liam, Wiley, Wilhelm, Wilkie in U.S.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Will, Willard, Willem, Williams, Willie in U.S.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Willis, Willy, Wilmer, Wilmot, Wilson in U.S.

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

Similar Names

William is pronounced similarly to Eilam and Eliam. Other recommended sound-alike names are Cillian, Gilam, Gillian, Hallam, Killian, Pellam, Wallas, Wallie, Wallis, Waltham, Wickham, Wilkins, Willbur, Willes, Willess, Willet, Willets, Willett, Willey, Williss, Willkes, Willkins (see Wilkinson), Willmar (see Wilmer), Willmer, Wilmar, Windham, Wolfram and Wulfram. These names tend to be less frequently used than William.

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in meaning and etymology.