- this week

Gender: Male Meaning of Charles: "free man" Origin of Charles: French from German Charles's Popularity in 2017: #49

The name Charles is a boy's name of German, French origin meaning "free man". Charles is ranked #49 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Middle Names for Boys and discussed in our forums with posts like "A Duggarlike Game: With a twist!".

From the experts:

Charles is a longtime traditional favorite that was in the Top 10 until the 1960s, and is not as popular as it once was but is still a widely used name. 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 Prince of Wales, as well as kings of France, Spain, England, Portugal, and Hungary.

The nickname Charlie (and Charley) has taken on a life of its own and is now a popular choice for both sexes. And though Chuck is now virtually gone, Chas/Chaz is becoming a nickname of choice.

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

Find other names based on Charles using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Charles

Charles I "the Great" aka Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles II-VI, Holy Roman Emperors
Charles I and II, Kings of England, Scotland and Ireland
Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, British heir apparent
Charles Martel, Duke of the Franks
Charles II and III, Kings of Spain
Charles IV (born Carlos Antonio Pascual Francisco Javier Juan Nepomuceno José Januario Serafín Diego), King of Spain
Charles II-IX, Kings of France
Charles X (born Charles Philippe), King of France
Charles I-XIII, Kings of Sweden
Charles XIV John, King 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 I-III, Kings of Naples
Saint Charles Borromeo, Italian cardinal
Charles John Huffam Dickens, English novelist
Charles Robert Darwin, English naturalist
Charles Andre Joseph Marie de Gaulle, President of France
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, English actor
Charles Warren Fairbanks, 26th U.S. Vice President
Charles Gates Dawes, 30th U.S. Vice President
Charles Curtis, 31st U.S. Vice President
Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot, English actor
(Walter) Charles Dance, English actor
Charles Monroe Schulz, American cartoonist
Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones, American animator
(Henry) Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski), American novelist
Charles Mingus Jr., American jazz musician
(Louis) Charles Auguste Claude Trenet, French singer-songwriter
Charles Wade Barkley, American basketball player
Charles Peete "Charlie" Rose Jr., American broadcast presenter
Charles Phillip Ingalls, father of novelist Laura Ingalls Wilder
Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky), American actor
Charles Boyer, French actor
Charles Perrault, French folklorist
Charles Francis Adams, son of U.S. President John Quincy Adams
Charles Y.J.Gh. Michel, Prime Minister of Belgium
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry, American musician
Charles "Charlie" Parker Jr., American musician
Charles George Patrick Shaughnessy, 5th Baron Shaughnessy, English actor
Charles Michael Davis, American model & actor
Charles Michael Levine, birth name of Chuck Lorre, American TV writer and producer
Charles "Charlie" Carver, American actor; twin brother Max Carver
Charles Edward Durning, American actor
John Charles Carter, birth name of American actor Charlton Heston
Charles Samuel "Chas" Addams, American cartoonist
Charles Henry Holden, English architect
Charles Atangana, Cameroonian chief
Charles Kuralt, American TV journalist
Charles-Valentin Alkan, French composer
Charles Villiers Stanford, Irish composer
Charles Nelson Reilly, American actor
Charles deWolf "Charlie" Gibson, American TV journalist
Charles Stuart "Charlie" Kaufman, American film director and writer
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence
Charles Elmer "Rip" Taylor Jr, American actor
Charles Peckham "Charlie" Day, American actor/comedian
Charles George "Charlie" Macartney, Australian cricketer
Charles Edward Spearman, English psychologist
Charles Stewart Parnell, Irish politician and revolutionary
Charles Devoe, American model
Charles Conrad "Chad" Lowe, American actor and brother of Rob Lowe
Charles W. Misner, American physicist
Charles Michael "Bucky" Lasek, American pro skateboarder
Charles Albert Gobat, Swiss politician and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
Charles Babbage, English polymath
Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor, former president of Liberia
Charles "Charlie" Bassett, American Western figure
Charles Doyle "Charlie" Haas II, American pro wrestler
Charles Grodin, American actor
Charles Stewart Howard, American owner of racehorse Seabiscuit
Charles Rocket (born Charles Adams Claverie), American actor/comedian
Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer, U.S. Senator from New York
Charles Ernest "Chuck" Grassley, U.S. Senator from Iowa
Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel, former U.S. Secretary of Defense
Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager, U.S. Air Force general and test pilot
Charles A Bassett II, American astronaut
Charles Paul Trippy III, Youtube 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 Lee, American Revolutionary general
Charles Stephen "Chad" Paine III, American reality TV personality; husband of Erin (Bates) Paine of "Bringing Up Bates"
Charles Stephen "Carson" Paine IV, son of Erin Bates Paine & Chad Paine
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Crowe, son of actor Russell Crowe
Charles McHugh O'Donnell, son of actor Chris O'Donnell
Charles Max "Charley" Feldman (b. 2016), son of Savannah Guthrie and Mike Feldman
Charles Leclerc, monegasque formula one racing driver

Pop Culture References for the name Charles

Charles "Charlie" Kellly, main character from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Charles "Chip" Shreck, character in DC Universe
Charles DiLaurentis, Uber A from 'Pretty Little Liars'
Charles Augustus Milverton (or Magnussen), villain in the 'Sherlock Holmes' series
Charles Bingley, character in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"
Charles "Chuck" Bass, character in the "Gossip Girl" series
Charles Francis Xavier aka Professor X, from Marvel Universe
Charles Irving "Chuck" Bartowski, main character on TV's "Chuck"
Charles "Trip" Tucker, character on TV's "Star Trek: Enterprise"
Charles "Charlie" Fineman, character in movie "Reign Over Me"
Charles "Chuck" Levine, character in movie "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"
Charles Lee, character in the video game "Assassin's Creed III" (based on a historical Revolutionary War general of the same name)
Charles "Charlie" Eppes, character on TV's "Numb3rs"
Charles 'Charlie' Weasley, character in the Harry Potter series
Charles Dalimar, character in video game Mystery Case Files Ravenhearst series
Charles Emerson Winchester III, character in the TV series "M*A*S*H"
Charles "Charley" Hardy, character in G. A. Henty's, Out on the Pampas
Charles Macaulay, character in Donna Tartt's "The Secret History"
Charles "Charlie" Bone, the protagonist of Jenny Nimmo's "The Children of the Red King" series
Charles Hamilton, character in "Gone with the Wind"
Charles Blake, character on Downton Abbey
Charles "Chuck" Hansen, character in "Pacific Rim"
Charles Foster Kane, character in "Citizen Kane"
Charles LaRousse Dreyfus, character in The Pink Panther film series
Charles "Chuck" Scolnik, character in the TV series "One Tree Hill"

Chip, Cholly, Charls, Chaz, Charly, Carl, Charley, Chay, Charlie, Chick, Chas, Carroll, Chazz, Chuck, Chad, Charlton, Cary

Charles's International Variations

Karel (Dutch) Tearlach (Gaelic) Séarlas (Irish Gaelic) Karol, Carel (Polish) Carlos (Spanish) Siarl (Welsh) Kaarle (Finnish) Karl (German) Xarles (Basque) Károly (Hungarian) Charlot (French) Carlo (Italian) Carlus (Irish)


GenEric Says:


Meh, I prefer Carlos, but there's still appeal in this strong, classic name.

lovelovelove Says:


Classic and almost royal. This name even has good nickname options which is a huge plus. I don't have any complaints with this name.

Miranda Leedham Says:


Charles is the name of my Grandfather-in-Law. Would love to name my future son Charles and nickname him Chuck. I think that would be super sweet!

caetano Says:


Reminds me of prince Charles and Charles Manson. Two awful associations

georgiaO Says:


Love it <3

lesliemarion Says:


Oh how I love Charles. The only thing that would have stopped me using it was the dreaded CHUCK!

Leah3456 Says:


Reminds me of Charlie Chaplin.

Guest Says:


Nice classic name that I like but I absolutely cannot get over the connection to Satan himself Charles Manson. 😓

Addie88 Says:


I like this name only in order to get the nickname Charlie. To be honest, I have never cared for Charles itself. However, it is traditional, and therefore in my opinion, runs circles around most contemporary names by default.