French from German
"man, free man"

Charles Origin and Meaning

The name Charles is a boy's name of German, French origin meaning "man, free man".

Charles derives from the Germanic name Karl, meaning "man" or "freeman", and is a royal name in multiple European countries. A famous early bearer is Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Lombards and then Roman Emperor in the 8th-9th centuries.

The word for "king" in several languages, including Slavic, Russian, and Polish, came from Charles. And, of course, Charles III is the current king of Great Britain.

Charles is a longtime traditional favorite that was in the Top 10 until the 1960s. Though not as popular as it once was, it's still a widely used name.

The most fashionable form of Charles today is Charlie, used almost equally for girls and boys. And of course, Charlie or Charley is still used as a short form for Charles, along with the old school Chuck and new school Chas/Chaz.

Lately, Charles has been resuscitated by many celeb parents, from Jodie Foster to Russell Crowe, honoring a distinguished history dating back to the emperor Charlemagne—the original Charles the Great.

Charles has been so well used for so long that it is virtually faceless—it can conjure up anyone from Dickens to Chaplin to Bronson. It has been an elegant royal name—designating both Bonnie Prince Charlie, leader of a 1745 rebellion, and the present king, as well as previous kings of France, Spain, England, Portugal, and Hungary.

Among the well used international versions of Charles: Carl, Carlo, Carlos, Karel, Xarles, Charlot, and Siarl.

# 54 in the US

Charles Rank in US Top 1000

# 159 on Nameberry

Charles Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Charles Popularity

Famous People Named Charles

  • Charles I "the Great" aka CharlemagneHoly Roman Emperor
  • Charles IIVI, Holy Roman Emperors
  • Charles I and IIKings of England, Scotland and Ireland
  • Charles Philip Arthur GeorgePrince of Wales, British heir apparent
  • Charles MartelDuke of the Franks
  • Charles II and IIIKings of Spain
  • Charles IV (born Carlos Antonio Pascual Francisco Javier Juan Nepomuceno José Januario Serafín Diego)King of Spain
  • Charles IIIX, Kings of France
  • Charles X (born Charles Philippe)King of France
  • Charles IXIII, Kings of Sweden
  • Charles XIV JohnKing of Sweden
  • Charles XV (born Carl Ludvig Eugen)King of Sweden
  • Charles I (born Carlos Fernando Luís Maria Victor Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis José Simão)King of Portugal
  • Charles I (born Karl Franz Joseph Ludwig Hubert Georg Otto Maria)last Emperor of Austria
  • Charles I (born Charles Robert)King of Hungary
  • Charles IIII, Kings of Naples
  • Saint Charles BorromeoItalian cardinal
  • Charles John Huffam DickensEnglish novelist
  • Charles Robert DarwinEnglish naturalist
  • Charles Andre Joseph Marie de GaullePresident of France
  • Matthew Charles "Matt" CzuchryAmerican actor
  • Charles Spencer "Charlie" ChaplinEnglish actor and director
  • Charles Warren Fairbanks26th U.S. Vice President
  • Charles Gates Dawes30th U.S. Vice President
  • Charles Curtis31st U.S. Vice President
  • Charles Sebastian Thomas CabotEnglish actor
  • (Walter) Charles DanceEnglish actor
  • Charles Monroe SchulzAmerican cartoonist
  • Charles Martin "Chuck" JonesAmerican animator
  • (Henry) Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski)American novelist
  • Charles Mingus Jr.American jazz musician
  • Charles Otto "Charlie" Puth Jr.American singer,songwriter
  • (Louis) Charles Auguste Claude TrenetFrench singer,songwriter
  • Charles Wade BarkleyAmerican basketball player
  • Charles Peete "Charlie" Rose Jr.American broadcast presenter
  • Charles Phillip Ingallsfather of novelist Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky)American actor
  • Charles BoyerFrench actor
  • Charles PerraultFrench folklorist
  • Charles Francis Adamsson of U.S. President John Quincy Adams
  • Charles Y.J.Gh. MichelPrime Minister of Belgium
  • Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" BerryAmerican musician
  • Charles "Charlie" Parker Jr.American musician
  • Charles George Patrick Shaughnessy5th Baron Shaughnessy, English actor
  • Charles Michael DavisAmerican model & actor
  • Charles Michael Levinebirth name of Chuck Lorre, American TV writer and producer
  • Charles "Charlie" CarverAmerican actor; twin brother Max Carver
  • Charles Edward DurningAmerican actor
  • John Charles Carterbirth name of American actor Charlton Heston
  • Charles Samuel "Chas" AddamsAmerican cartoonist
  • Charles Henry HoldenEnglish architect
  • Charles AtanganaCameroonian chief
  • Charles KuraltAmerican TV journalist
  • CharlesValentin Alkan, French composer
  • Charles Villiers StanfordIrish composer
  • Charles Nelson ReillyAmerican actor
  • Charles deWolf "Charlie" GibsonAmerican TV journalist
  • Charles Stuart "Charlie" KaufmanAmerican film director and writer
  • Charles Carroll of Carrolltonsigner of the U.S. Declaration of Independence
  • Charles Elmer "Rip" Taylor JrAmerican actor
  • Charles Peckham "Charlie" DayAmerican actor/comedian
  • Charles George "Charlie" MacartneyAustralian cricketer
  • Charles Edward SpearmanEnglish psychologist
  • Charles Stewart ParnellIrish politician and revolutionary
  • Charles DevoeAmerican model
  • Charles Conrad "Chad" LoweAmerican actor and brother of Rob Lowe
  • Charles W. MisnerAmerican physicist
  • Charles Michael "Bucky" LasekAmerican pro skateboarder
  • Charles Albert GobatSwiss politician and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Charles BabbageEnglish polymath
  • Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylorformer president of Liberia
  • Charles "Charlie" BassettAmerican Western figure
  • Charles Doyle "Charlie" Haas IIAmerican pro wrestler
  • Charles GrodinAmerican actor
  • Charles Stewart HowardAmerican owner of racehorse Seabiscuit
  • Charles Rocket (born Charles Adams Claverie)American actor/comedian
  • Charles Ellis "Chuck" SchumerU.S. Senator from New York
  • Charles Ernest "Chuck" GrassleyU.S. Senator from Iowa
  • Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagelformer U.S. Secretary of Defense
  • Charles Elwood "Chuck" YeagerU.S. Air Force general and test pilot
  • Charles A Bassett IIAmerican astronaut
  • Charles Paul Trippy IIIYoutube personality "CTFxC," bassist for We The Kings
  • Charles Alden Black and Charles Alden Black Jr.husband and son of child star Shirley Temple
  • Charles Horton Cooley American sociologist
  • Charles LeeAmerican Revolutionary general
  • Charles Stephen "Chad" Paine IIIAmerican reality TV personality; husband of Erin (Bates) Paine of "Bringing Up Bates"
  • Charles Stephen "Carson" Paine IVson of Erin Bates Paine & Chad Paine
  • Charles Spencer "Charlie" Croweson of actor Russell Crowe
  • Charles McHugh O'Donnellson of actor Chris O'Donnell
  • Charles Max "Charley" Feldman (b. 2016)son of Savannah Guthrie and Mike Feldman
  • Charles Leclercmonegasque formula one racing driver
  • Charles Elisha Manning (b. 2019)son of American football quarterback Eli Manning
  • Charles Osgood (b. 1933) retired American radio & television personalityhosted CBS Sunday Morning
  • Charles Haddon Spurgeon (18341892) famous Baptist preacher called the "Prince of Preachers"
  • Charles Schwab (b. 1937) American investorfinancial executive, philanthropist
  • Charles Martinet (b. 1955) Voice of MarioWario, Luigi, Waluigi, Baby Luigi, Baby Mario for Nintendo video games

Charles in Pop Culture

  • Charles "Charlie" Kellymain character from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Charles "Chip" Shreckcharacter in DC Universe
  • Charles DiLaurentisUber A from 'Pretty Little Liars'
  • Charles Augustus Milverton (or Magnussen)villain in the 'Sherlock Holmes' series
  • Charles Bingleycharacter in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"
  • Charles "Chuck" Basscharacter in the "Gossip Girl" series
  • Charles Francis Xavier aka Professor Xfrom Marvel Universe
  • Charles Irving "Chuck" Bartowskimain character on TV's "Chuck"
  • Charles "Trip" Tuckercharacter on TV's "Star Trek: Enterprise"
  • Charles "Charlie" Finemancharacter in movie "Reign Over Me"
  • Charles "Chuck" Levinecharacter in movie "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"
  • Charles Leecharacter in the video game "Assassin's Creed III" (based on a historical Revolutionary War general of the same name)
  • Charles "Charlie" Eppescharacter on TV's "Numb3rs"
  • Charles 'Charlie' Weasleycharacter in the Harry Potter series
  • Charles Dalimarcharacter in video game Mystery Case Files Ravenhearst series
  • Charles Emerson Winchester IIIcharacter in the TV series "M*A*S*H"
  • Charles "Charley" Hardycharacter in G. A. Henty's, Out on the Pampas
  • Charles Macaulaycharacter in Donna Tartt's "The Secret History"
  • Charles "Charlie" Bonethe protagonist of Jenny Nimmo's "The Children of the Red King" series
  • Charles Hamiltoncharacter in "Gone with the Wind"
  • Charles Blakecharacter on Downton Abbey
  • Charles "Chuck" Hansencharacter in "Pacific Rim"
  • Charles Foster Kanecharacter in "Citizen Kane"
  • Charles LaRousse Dreyfuscharacter in The Pink Panther film series
  • Charles "Chuck" Scolnikcharacter in the TV series "One Tree Hill"
  • Charlesmain character on the TV series "Charles in Charge"
  • Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burnsaka Mr. Burns, character on "The Simpsons"
  • Charles Boylecharacter in the TV series "Brooklyn Nine,Nine"
  • Charles Baker "Dill" Harrischaracter in the novel and film "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • Charles Vancecharacter in the TV series Star Trek: Discovery, Fleet Admiral Charles Vance is a 32nd century human
  • Starfleet Officer introduced in the episode "Die Trying"

Charles in Nameberry Blog Posts