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William Meaning


Quick Facts







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Origin & Meaning

The name William is of German origin.

The meaning of William is "determined protector".  


In the U.S. in 2014, it ranked 5 in baby name popularity for boys with 16687 occurrences.  It ranked 5747 in popular baby names for girls with 23 occurrences. 

View the William Name Popularity Page to see how the popularity trend for William has changed since 1880, or to compare the popularity of William to other names.


Introduced to Britain by the Normans, the name William is an Anglicized form of the German name Wilhelm.

It is derived from the Germanic elements Wil meaning "will or determination" and helm meaning "helmet or protection, guardian".

One of a number of names introduced to Britain by the Normans, William was and still remains one of the most popular names in Britain. It was the most common boy name in the first century after the Conquest, and was second only to the name John during the Middle Ages.

The name William is used by the royal families of Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.

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What will your new little William be like?

It may all be in the numbers.

The numbers that make up your child's name.

Children named William are often exotic and admirable but most of all they are  read more >>

Related Names

Other Tidbits

William falls into the name categories classic, easy nickname.

Some famous bearers of this name include: William Clark, William Taft, William Clinton, William Faulkner, William Shakespeare.

Name Fun

Would you like to fingerspell the name William in American Sign Language?

Then just follow the diagram below.

Be creative with the name William.

Just for fun, see the name William in Hieroglyphics, learn about ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and write a Hieroglyphic message.

Learn about nautical flags and see your name or message written in nautical flags, on the William in Nautical Flags page.

Names Like This

Traditional or old world Germanic names have two parts. One part indicates the gender and the other the characteristic of the person. For example, Adelbert or Albert is composed of adel meaning noble and a derivation of beracht meaning bright or shining.

Given names are generally gender specific. Male names cannot be used for females and vice versa. The only exception to this rule is "Maria" which can be used as a male second name as in Erich Maria.

German children are given one or many pre-names (vornames). Only one of these names however is used as their main name or call name (rufname). Parents choose a name because they like it or they may name a child after a relative. Religious catholics frequently give saints names as secondary names. Some combinations of male first and second names such as Hans-Joseph are traditionally hyphenated. The maximum number of first names is five.

Germany has very strict naming laws. Names must be known as a human names. For example, pet names, common nouns, place names and invented names are not allowed. They must also not be offensive or humiliating. The Name Registrar (Standesbeamter) has the right to bar a name. Parent's can appeal the Standesbeamter's decision in court.

Given names may only be changed to correct an error made by the state when recording the name, naturalization of foreigners who may wish to take on a more Germanic version of their name and gender reassignment by transsexuals.