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Gender: M Meaning of William: "resolute protection" Origin of William: English from German William's Popularity in 2012: #5

Popularity: this week.

William has been among the most enduring of classics, currently standing at a solid Number 5. In the last year, the name has been chosen by almost 17,000 American parents as being ideally conservative yet contemporary. For 400 years, William has been second only to John as the most popular name in the English-speaking world. And now of course it's also a newsy name, thanks to Britain's high-profile Prince William.

In terms of short forms, yesterday's Bills and Billys have given way to today's Wills -- or Williams, with no diminutive--though a few hip Billys, including Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton's, have surfaced recently. But Will, sometimes used on its own, is still the most stylish William nickname.

The name was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, and has long reigned as a royal name in the UK. There are tons of worthy namesakes called William, including William Shakespeare, Bill Gates, Will Smith, and four U.S. presidents.

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Famous People Named William

William Caxton, inventor of the printing press
William Commons, Son of Scottish Footballer Kris Commons
William "Bill" Clinton, 42nd US president
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
William Henry Harrison, 9th US president
William McKinley">McKinley, 25th US president
William Howard Taft, 27th US president
William Faulkner, American writer
William Bradley "Brad" Pitt, American actor
William "Bill" Gates, American businessman and mogal
William Shakespeare, English poet and writer
William "Bill" Paxton, American actor
William H. Macy, American actor
William Hurt, American actor
William Moseley, English actor
Will Anderson, comedian
William True, son of actress Kirstie Alley
William I or "William the Conqueror," first Norman King of England
William "Liam" Neeson, Irish Actor
William "Will.I.Am" James Adams, singer
William Temple Todd, son of Dolley Madison
William Tyndale, English martyr who translated the Bible into English
William "Billy" Dean Martin, band member of "Good Charlotte"
William, son of musician Duncan Faure
William Gibson, son of actor Mel Gibson
William Luca Costa-Marsden, son of actor James Marsden
William Emerson "Will" Arnett, American actor
Colonel William Stephens Smith, Abigail "Nabby" Adams' husband
William Steuben Smith, son of William & Nabby Adams Smith
William Atticus Parker, son of American actor Billy Crudup
Will Dunn (born William Miles Dunn), British Teenage actor
William Rankin "Will" Patton, American actor
William Dakota, son of American model/actress Angela Lindvall
William Daniel Phillips, American physicist and Nobel prize winner
William Thomson, British mathematical physicist and engineer
William Henry Bragg, physicist, mathematician & Nobel-prize winner
William Lawrence Bragg, physicist & Nobel prize winner
William John Paul "Liam" Gallagher, lead singer of Oasis
William Shatner, Canadian Actor, played Captain Kirk (Star Trek)
William "Wil" Wheaton, American actor
William Wallace Lincoln (1850-'62), Abraham & Mary Lincoln's son

Pop Culture References for the Name William

William "Bill" Weasley, a character in Harry Potter
William "Bill" Compton, character from the TV series 'True Blood'
William Riker, character from 'Star Trek: the Next Generation'
William "Will" Truman, character from the series 'Will & Grace'
William "Will" Shuester, character from the series 'Glee'
William "Will" Herondale, character from "Clockwork Angel"
William Birkin, character in the video game series "Resident Evil"
William Baker, character from "Spiderman"
William 'Will' Turner, character from Pirates of the Caribbean
Det. William Murdoch, character from "Murdoch Mysteries"
William, character from the movie 'Chatroom'
William 'Will' Gardner - character from 'The Good Wife'
William 'Will' Parry - character in His Dark Materials
William, the name of Scully's baby in "The X files"

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