Gender: Male Pronunciation: VIL-helm Meaning of Wilhelm: "resolute protection" Origin of Wilhelm: German variation of William

Wilhelm Origin and Meaning

The name Wilhelm is a boy's name of German origin meaning "resolute protection".

This dignified German form of William belonged to two German Emperors and Kings of Prussia, as well as a host of other important historical figures. These include composer (Wilhelm) Richard Wagner, philosophers Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, and physicist Wilhelm Roentgen, who discovered the X-ray. It now sounds rather dated in Germany, however, having dropped out of the Top 20 there in the late 1920s and continuing to decline since.

16 names similar to Wilhelm

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- this week

Famous People Named Wilhelm

Pop Culture References for the name Wilhelm

Wilm, Willy, Wil, Willi


Dietrich Says:



Dietrich Says:


No one cares how you pronounce it. You pronounce it wrong.

Dietrich Says:


The H is heard just the same!

Volkmar Says:



Volkmar Says:


Then you pronounce it wrong.

Volkmar Says:


Um, sorry, but William is the variation, not Wilhelm!

katoolah Says:


Perhaps we can accept some variation? My Oma is a Dutch Wilhelmina, and I have never once heard her name pronounced like that by even our relatives in the Netherlands. It seems to be a far more wispy 'H' sound.

Monika Paden Says:


I think the American pronunciation is part of it, and the nicknames matching the current naming sound, but checking the SSA list in 2006 there were 15 Wilhelminas born and 17 Wilhelms and in 2016 they'd both increased, though not evenly, to 114 Wilhelminas and 24 Wilhelms. That's hardly well loved, (more girls were literally named "Unique" that year) but the female name probably has more fans than the male because of people hearing it on Harry Potter or Ugly Betty.

Monika Paden Says:


There aren't very many Wilhelminas born in the U.S. each year (though it's on the upswing) so most Americans have likely read it more than heard it in its original context of various queens and princesses, (or heard it on an American TV show or movie, more recently, but I know I read it in a kids' chapter book in the early 90s and loved it) and in the U.S. it would be read as a Wuh name and not a Vuh name. Just like if you meet a Johanna in the U.S. it'll likely start with a Juh sound and the "H" will be (nearly) silent and it will be (nearly) indistinguishable woth Joanna even though Johanna is pronounced Yo-hah-na in Germany. There's starting to be a number of little American Wolfgangs too, and while I'm sure they'd have no problem with their sons being called Volfgang if they visited Europe they name them with the expectation that they'll have the W starting sound in the U.S.

Would it help if you imagine there's a separate American name that happens to be spelled the same as Wilhelmina that's pronounced like Willa-mina?

Like 2 sets of parents that name their daughters Deana and one pronounces it Dee-ann-uh and one Deen-nuh. However the parents, and later, the namebearer herself, intend for it to be pronounced is the correct pronunciation for that person's name, even if another person with the same spelling has a different name.

cyoung325 Says:


Obviously you have never heard of Wilhelmina being used in English speaking countries because that is exactly how we would say it. It may not be the correct way to say it, but that's how we say it now. Seriously, just look at the page for Wilhelmina and you'll see comments about this pronunciation and even the nicknames Willie and Willa. You may not like it, but that's just how it is here.

Wolfgang Says:


Wilhelmine is pronounced the same in every nation in the world. It is "vil-hel-mi-na". You do not just change the pronunciation of the name and claim that is how it is said in other languages.

Wolfgang Says:


Wilhelmine is not pronounced at all like "Willem".

It is "vil-hel-mi-na".

Wolfgang Says:


Both names are pronounced exactly the same, apart from "-mine" at the end.

Wolfgang Says:


"Since the World War I days of Kaiser Wilhelm, has been prohibitively heel clicking."

What does this mean?

The name Wilhelm is the most popular German name in history!

Long before Kaiser Wilhelm, and long after.

Endless inventors, philosophers, engineers, chemists, kings and kaisers...

cyoung325 Says:


I know that Wilhelmina is technically pronounced the same, but in
English speaking countries Wilhelmina is pronounced WILL-ah-mee-nah
which is similar to William. There also is the spelling Willamina
pronounced the same way. We say it this way because that's how we would
pronounce a W and we're used to William versus Wilhelm. In fact, I've
heard English speakers pronounce Wilhelm WILL-helm as well.



Wilhelmine/a is not at all pronounced like "William". It is pronounced exactly like "Wilhelm", save that "ina" is conjoined to the "m". You are the second one to claim a false pronunciation of Wilhelmina now. That is odd. Does that come from somewhere?

"Vil-helm" versus "vel-hel-mee-nah".



The letter "h" is heard the same in both names. The only difference is the "ina" conjoins to the "m"...




cyoung325 Says:


I think it's because Wilhelm and Wilhelmina are pronounced so differently. Wilhelm is actually pronounced vil-HELM which is very different from William whereas Wilhelmina at least sounds similar to William. I don't think either one is "off limits" but neither one really gets much attention at least with these spelling because English speakers just don't get how to say them. I have run these both by DH and he can't say them as they are spelled and he can't spell them correctly either! It's not that they are unloved, but it's hard in an English speaking country to use any foreign names.

alexandramae Says:


I definitely pronounce Wilhelmina more like Willem. I prefer Willem because Wilhem's pronunciation is just not my favorite. However, I worry Willem will constantly be mispronounced and confused as William. Wilhelm does have that advantage.

katoolah Says:


I think people are a bit hesitant because the H is easily heard in Wilhelm, but not so much in Wilhelmina. I like Willem better than Wilhelm, but I think my Dutch ancestry makes me a little biased.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Why does everyone love Wilhelmina (which in my opinion is EXTREMELY unattractive ) but Wilhelm is off limits and unloved?