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Gender: Male Meaning of William: "resolute protection" Origin of William: English from German William's Popularity in 2017: #3

The name William is a boy's name of English origin meaning "resolute protection". William is ranked #3 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Middle Names for Boys and discussed in our forums with posts like "Love, Like, Lose: Similar Names (Boys)".

From the experts:

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 Will, sometimes used on its own, is still the most stylish William nickname. Riding the William bandwagon are the Irish spinoff Liam (now in second place) and, to a lesser extent, the Dutch Willem.

The name was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, and 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.

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

Famous People Named William

William I the Conqueror, first Norman King of England
William II, King of England
William III of Orange, King of Great Britain and Ireland
William IV (William Henry), King of the United Kingdom
William I (Willem Frederik), King of the Netherlands
William II (Willem Frederik George Lodewijk), King of the Netherlands
William III (Willem Alexander Paul Frederik Lodewijk), King of the Netherlands
William I-II, Princes of Orange
William IV (Willem Karel Hendrik Friso), Prince of Orange
William V (Willem Batavus), Prince of Orange
William the Lion, King of Scots
William I-III, Kings of Sicily
William Tyndale, English martyr who translated the Bible into English
William Shakespeare, English poet and writer
William Henry Harrison, 9th U.S. president
William McKinley, 25th U.S. president
William Howard Taft, 27th U.S. president
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton, 42nd U.S. president
William James "Bill" O'Reilly Jr., American television host
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; born William Arthur Philip Louis
William Cuthbert Faulkner, American novelist
William Temple Todd, son of U.S. First Lady Dolley Madison
William Wallace Lincoln, son of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln
William Henry Seward, American politician, governor and senator from New York
William Bradley "Brad" Pitt, American actor
William "Bill" Shatner, Canadian actor
William Henry "Bill" Gates, American founder of Microsoft, Inc.
William Wilberforce, English abolitionist politician
William Dawes, rode with Paul Revere on the "Midnight Ride"
William Stephens Smith, husband of Abigail "Nabby" Adams, son-in-law of U.S. President John Adams
William "Bill" Paxton, American actor
William Hall Macy, American actor
William Louis Petersen, American actor
William Peter Moseley, English actor
William James "Wil" Anderson, Australian comedian
William Turner Walton, English composer
William Denby "Bill" Hanna, American cartoonist of Hanna-Barbera
William James Adams aka Will.I.Am., American R&B singer
William "Billy" Dean Martin, musician of American band Good Charlotte
William "Adam" West (Anderson), American actor
William Emerson "Will" Arnett, American actor
William Henry "Hank" Green, American comedian, YouTuber and educator
William Justus Goebel, American politician, governor of Kentucky
William Miles "Will" Dunn, English actor
William Daniel Phillips, American physicist and Nobel prize winner
William Thomson, British mathematical physicist and engineer
William Henry Bragg, physicist, mathematician & Nobel-prize winner
William Lawrence Bragg, Australian-British physicist & Nobel prize winner
William John Paul "Liam" Gallagher, lead singer of English band Oasis
William Ford Gibson, American novelist
William Caxton, English printing pioneer
William "Bill" Hader,actor/comedian/writer
William James Hehir, bass player on band MisterWives
William "Will" Rankin Patton, American Actor
William Beckett, lead singer of American band The Academy Is...
William "Billy" Joel, American singer/songwriter/pianist
William Meynard, French swimmer
William Seward Burroughs I, American inventor
William Seward Burroughs II, American writer
Olajide William "JJ" Olatunji aka KSI, English YouTuber
Richard William "Wil" Wheaton, American actor
William "Bill" Anders, American astronaut
William Commons, son of Scottish Footballer Kris Commons
William True, son of actress Kirstie Alley
William Luca Costa-Marsden, son of actor James Marsden
William Wolf Howey, son of Sarah Shahi & Steve Howey
William Lawson Bates, 4th child (2nd son) of the reality TV show "Bringing Up Bates" family
William "Billy" John Kimmel (b. 2017), son of American television host, comedian, writer, and producer Jimmy Kimmel
William Hammington (b. 2016), son of Australian comedian Samuel Hammington

Pop Culture References for the name William

William Harold Ryan "Will" Munson, character on American soap As The World Turns
William "Will" Halstead, character on TV's Chicago Med.
(William) Sherlock Scott Holmes, main character on TV's "Sherlock"
William Afton, villain in Five Nights at Freddy's games and book
William "Bill" Weasley, character in the Harry Potter series
William "Bill" Forbes II, character on TV's "The Vampire Diaries", father of Caroline Forbes.
William "Bill" Compton, character on TV's 'True Blood'
William Riker, character on TV's 'Star Trek: the Next Generation'
William "Will" Truman, character on TV's 'Will & Grace'
William "Will" Shuester, character on TV's 'Glee'
William "Will" Herondale, character from the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare
William Brown, main character in the Just William series by Richmal Crompton
William Birkin, character in the video game series "Resident Evil"
William Baker, character in the Spider-Man series
William 'Will' Turner, character in the Pirates of the Caribbean series
William Murdoch, character on TV's "Murdoch Mysteries"
William Collins, main character in film 'Chatroom'
William 'Will' Gardner, character on TV's 'The Good Wife'
William 'Will' Parry, character in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series
William Scully, baby on TV's "The X-Files"
William "Bill" Mulder, father of Fox William Mulder of "The X-Files"
William Mason, footman on TV's "Downton Abbey"
William Townsend, character in "Yesterday's child" by Barbara Wood
William "Bill" Denbrough, character in "It"
William Buxton, character on TV's "Return to Cranford"
William 'Will' Gorski, character on sense8
William "Will" Turner, character in movie/book "Me before you"
William Sayre, character in J.K. Rowling's "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry"
William the Pukwudgie, character in J.K. Rowling's "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry"
William Clayton, character on TV's "Arrow"
William "Penny" Adiyodi, character in "The Magicians"
William Stryker, character in "X-Men"
William "Will" Byers, character in "Stranger Things"
William "Will" Munny, character in "Unforgiven"
William "Billy" McMahon, main character in film "The Internship"
William "Bill" Cage, main character in film "Edge of Tomorrow"
William Scatloke (Will Scarlet) character in the King Raven Trilogy
William Pratt, birth name of Spike, on TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel"
William Vanderboom, character in the Rusty Lake and Cube Escape series

Wilkie, Wilkes, Willis, Willi, Will, Wiley, Bill, Williamson, Billy, Wim, Wilson, Bille, Billie, Wilmar, Wilkinson, Pim, Willy, Wills, Willie


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