Gender: Male Meaning of William: "resolute protection" Origin of William: English from German William's Popularity in 2019: #4

William Origin and Meaning

The name William is a boy's name of English origin meaning "resolute protection".

William is derived from the Germanic name Wilhelm, composed of the elements wil, “will,” and helm, referring to a helmet or protection. The name was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, with William being the Norman variation of the name. In Central and Southern France, it was translated as Guillaume.

William has been among the most enduring of classics. It's among the most popular boys' names, as American parents see it as being ideally conservative yet contemporary, and hands-down the most popular baby name beginning with W of all time. 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 But Irish spinoff Liam is the most stylish William nickname and has now superseded William, becoming the most popular boy name in America. Riding the William bandwagon is the Dutch Willem, which comes with the unique nickname Pim.

William has long reigned as a royal name in the U.K. There are tons of worthy namesakes called William, including William Shakespeare, Bill Gates and four U.S. presidents.

16 names similar to William

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like William. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than William, 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 William using our baby name generator.


Rank in US: #4

- this week

Famous People Named William

Pop Culture References for the name William

Billy, Wilson, Will, Kleo, Wilkie, Wiley, Bill, Williamson, Willis, Willi, Wilkes, Bille, Billie, Wilmar, Wilkinson, Pim,


violettulip Says:


I love this name so much, but my family already has a Willem in it. Willem goes by Will, and I have some association with the nickname Bill/Billy. So if I did use William, my son would likely go by Liam for short.

SouthernPeach Says:


I like this name with nn Liam!

ericakatherine Says:


Classic and classy but way too common now for my liking. So many mums I know are naming their kids William.

Carla jemma Says:


I like this name & my mum likes it as a middle name

Alaina Says:


This is my cousin's name. And it really suits him!

Tillie_Jay Says:


I love it when people use the full name William instead of Will or Bill or Liam. William is such a great name and doesn't need to be shortened to anything!

Thepandaprincess223 Says:


This name is a great name for a boy. William can either be quite dignified and reserved or can be a real naughty kid and you always find yourself saying "William..." I think a great middle name for William is James. A very angelic or naughty name that can suite just about any personality for any little boy.

Ella Frances Says:


One of my favorite boy names.

Patricia13 Says:


I Love William, it's strong and handsome, has great namesakes and I love the nickname Will. Tho nameberry forgot one namesake, William Laurence, one of the main characters in the "Temeraire" series by Naomi Novik

zenithstarr Says:


I always see Williams as cute and innocent <33

caetano Says:



caetano Says:


way too overused for me.

thenamer007 Says:


If I have a son I might name him William and call him Will.

RoddyThlayli Says:


Despite the fact that it's extremely common, especially in my family (my brother, my cousin, some other relative, not really sure how we're related, but we are, a great uncle and I think two of my great grandparents have this name) I still absolutely love it. I think Will is my favorite nickname for it, with Liam or Willy being second.

CharlotteLouise Says:


My sons name is William. He goes by William, Will or Billy. I love it, such a strong, classic boys name.

DaisyMaisie Says:


am i the only one who don`t think this name is amazing??

JamieO Says:


I agree its a nice name. But its so so overused! Its about time for a little originality...

clairelaliberte Says:


A very versatile name. A little boy named Billy could become Bill the businessman or a young man named Will, or maybe he could take a different route and be Liam: or maybe just keep the sweet classic name with no nickname at all!

euphemiadwarlock9 Says:


I surprise myself by liking William. I also like its shorter for; Liam.

ThistleThorn Says:


A total classic, if I had twins I would name them William and Robert. Billy and Bobby!

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


This is name is so common and overused in my area that honestly can't see any appeal, I've know 5 Williams at one time.

indiefendi2 Says:


Never thought I'd say this but I prefer Liam.

Jos7277 Says:


I love this name, especially because of Will Herondale from tID. Even without him, this is such a great name. It has a great meaning as well.

Addie88 Says:


A strong, classic, masculine name. I love it. I love Will or Billy as a nickname.

Leah3456 Says:


This name makes me think of Prince William.

jasminegarden Says:


I love this name so much! There are countless personal & celebrity namesakes that make me love it, and the short form Billy is my favourite boys name & will be my first son's name, however William itself is lush :)

gabbygrace1915 Says:


My favorite boy name <3