Gender: Male Meaning of Charles: "man, free man" Origin of Charles: French from German Charles's Popularity in 2019: #51

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 came from Charles, including Slavic, Russian, and Polish.

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.

16 names similar to Charles

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Charles. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Charles, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

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


Rank in US: #51

- this week

Famous People Named Charles

Pop Culture References for the name Charles

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

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.