William Name Meaning

Lastest Updated June 7, 2024
Home » Baby Names » William Name Meaning

Fact: Four U.S. presidents have been named William: William Henry Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Bill Clinton (whose full name is William Jefferson Clinton).

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A Deep Dive

William Overview

Meaning

Resolute protector, strong-willed warrior

Gender

Boy

Origin

Germanic

Etymology

Derived from the Germanic name “Willahelm,” meaning “will” or “desire” and “helmet” or “protection.”

Religion

Christianity

Pronunciation

/ˈwɪl.jəm/

Popularity

William enjoys consistent popularity globally, notably in the UK, Australia, and Canada. In the United States, it ranked within the top 10 names for boys in 2023.

Syllable

2 syllables

Length

7 letters

Numerology

7 (Analytical, Studious, Knowledgeable)

Name Styles

Popular, Classic, Traditional, Vintage, Cute

Associated Traits

Resilient, steady, bright, virtuous

Spiritual, Religious, or Cultural Significance

Saint William of Gellone is a notable figure, and the name has been borne by numerous saints and royal figures throughout history.

Name Day

January 10th
A Deep Dive

William Variations in Different Cultures

Popular Variations

Wilhelm, Willem, Guillermo, Guglielmo, Wiley

Common Nicknames

Willie, Bill, Billy, Liam

Diminutives

Will, Wills, Willy

Famous People

  • William Shakespeare
    (English Playwright)
  • William Faulkner
    (American Author)
  • William Howard Taft
    (American Politician)
  • William Wallace
    (Scottish Freedom Fighter)
  • William Hurt
    (American Actor)

Pop Culture Icons and Works

  • William Turner
    ("Pirates of the Caribbean," Film Series)
  • William "Will" Smith
    ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," TV Series)
  • William Wallace
    ("Braveheart," Film)
  • "William Tell"
    (Opera by Gioachino Rossini)
  • William Adama
    ("Battlestar Galactica," TV Series)

Places

  • William City
    (West Virginia, USA)
  • William Park
    (California, USA)
  • William River
    (South Australia, Australia)
  • William Lake
    (Manitoba, Canada)
  • William Island
    (Nunavut, Canada)

What Is the Meaning of William?

William means “resolute protector” or “strong-willed warrior.” This name suggests a personality that is determined and reliable, often seen as a natural leader with a protective and steadfast nature.

What Is the Origin of The Name William?

William has Germanic origins. It is derived from the Old German name “Willahelm,” which combines “wil” (will or desire) and “helm” (helmet or protection). The name became widespread in England after the Norman Conquest in 1066 and has remained a classic name through the centuries.

William Name Popularity

Popularity Chart of the Name William in the U.S. over the Years

United States flagUnited States#62021#62022#102023
Top 3 Rankings#21880#21881#21882

Annual Statistics Breakdown for William

YearName RankingNumber of BirthsBirth Rate (%)
202310
(-4 from 2022)
10598
(-732 from 2022)
0.57876
20226
No change from 2021
11330
(-829 from 2021)
0.60492
20216
(-1 from 2020)
12159
(-503 from 2020)
0.64896
20205
(-1 from 2019)
12662
(-977 from 2019)
0.68455
20194
(-1 from 2018)
13639
(-1000 from 2018)
0.70971
20183
No change from 2017
14639
(-392 from 2017)
0.75313
20173
No change from 2016
15031
(-771 from 2016)
0.75948
20163
(+2 from 2015)
15802
(-138 from 2015)
0.78010
20155
No change from 2014
15940
(-907 from 2014)
0.77968
20145
No change from 2013
16847
(+185 from 2013)
0.82212
20135
No change from 2012
16662
(-246 from 2012)
0.82457
20125
(-2 from 2011)
16908
(-449 from 2011)
0.83324
20113
(+2 from 2010)
17357
(+289 from 2010)
0.85443
20105
No change from 2009
17068
(-861 from 2009)
0.83080
20095
(+3 from 2008)
17929
(-471 from 2008)
0.84534
20088
No change from 2007
18400
(-494 from 2007)
0.84387
20078
(+2 from 2006)
18894
(-69 from 2006)
0.85297
200610
(+1 from 2005)
18963
(-96 from 2005)
0.86496
200511
(-3 from 2004)
19059
(-1175 from 2004)
0.89591
20048
(+3 from 2003)
20234
(+236 from 2003)
0.95743
200311
No change from 2002
19998
(-137 from 2002)
0.95176
200211
(-1 from 2001)
20135
(+25 from 2001)
0.97428
200110
(+1 from 2000)
20110
(-558 from 2000)
0.97225
200011
(+3 from 1999)
20668
(-48 from 1999)
0.98969
199914
No change from 1998
20716
(-117 from 1998)
1.01599
199814
(+5 from 1997)
20833
(+813 from 1997)
1.02745
199719
(-1 from 1996)
20020
(-524 from 1996)
1.00211
199618
(+2 from 1995)
20544
(+384 from 1995)
1.02529
199520
(-1 from 1994)
20160
(-1330 from 1994)
1.00230
199419
(-1 from 1993)
21490
(-729 from 1993)
1.05428
199318
(+2 from 1992)
22219
(-846 from 1992)
1.07571
199220
(-1 from 1991)
23065
(-793 from 1991)
1.09877
199119
(-3 from 1990)
23858
(-1049 from 1990)
1.12554
199016
(-1 from 1989)
24907
(+235 from 1989)
1.15737
198915
(+1 from 1988)
24672
(+547 from 1988)
1.17711
198816
(-1 from 1987)
24125
(-76 from 1987)
1.20488
198715
No change from 1986
24201
(-129 from 1986)
1.24094
198615
(+1 from 1985)
24330
(-279 from 1985)
1.26607
198516
No change from 1984
24609
(-291 from 1984)
1.27878
198416
No change from 1983
24900
(-495 from 1983)
1.32680
198316
(-1 from 1982)
25395
(-212 from 1982)
1.36270
198215
No change from 1981
25607
(+805 from 1981)
1.35689
198115
(-1 from 1980)
24802
(-838 from 1980)
1.33174
198014
(-1 from 1979)
25640
(+961 from 1979)
1.38239
197913
No change from 1978
24679
(+504 from 1978)
1.37770
197813
(-1 from 1977)
24175
(-582 from 1977)
1.41489
197712
(-1 from 1976)
24757
(+325 from 1976)
1.44832
197611
(-1 from 1975)
24432
(-1129 from 1975)
1.49652
197510
No change from 1974
25561
(-1417 from 1974)
1.57551
197410
(-1 from 1973)
26978
(-1035 from 1973)
1.65484
19739
No change from 1972
28013
(-2500 from 1972)
1.73601
19729
(-2 from 1971)
30513
(-4900 from 1971)
1.82271
19717
No change from 1970
35413
(-3478 from 1970)
1.94805
19707
(-1 from 1969)
38891
(+1281 from 1969)
2.04176
19696
No change from 1968
37610
(+684 from 1968)
2.05613
19686
No change from 1967
36926
(-693 from 1967)
2.07982
19676
No change from 1966
37619
(-618 from 1966)
2.11410
19666
No change from 1965
38237
(-1878 from 1965)
2.10367
19656
(+1 from 1964)
40115
(-4110 from 1964)
2.11733
19647
No change from 1963
44225
(-225 from 1963)
2.18176
19637
No change from 1962
44450
(-391 from 1962)
2.15292
19627
No change from 1961
44841
(-3187 from 1961)
2.13357
19617
No change from 1960
48028
(-1328 from 1960)
2.22662
19607
No change from 1959
49356
(-2004 from 1959)
2.27935
19597
(-1 from 1958)
51360
(-2890 from 1958)
2.37067
19586
No change from 1957
54250
(-2599 from 1957)
2.51755
19576
No change from 1956
56849
(-2143 from 1956)
2.59715
19566
No change from 1955
58992
(-995 from 1955)
2.74863
19556
No change from 1954
59987
(-1443 from 1954)
2.86983
19546
No change from 1953
61430
(-399 from 1953)
2.96887
19536
No change from 1952
61829
(-1207 from 1952)
3.08803
19526
No change from 1951
63036
(+251 from 1951)
3.19447
19516
No change from 1950
62785
(+2106 from 1950)
3.28428
19506
(-2 from 1949)
60679
(-823 from 1949)
3.33620
19494
No change from 1948
61502
(-467 from 1948)
3.41298
19484
No change from 1947
61969
(-5027 from 1947)
3.47604
19474
No change from 1946
66996
(+6963 from 1946)
3.60663
19464
No change from 1945
60033
(+9813 from 1945)
3.63750
19454
No change from 1944
50220
(-2151 from 1944)
3.66182
19444
No change from 1943
52371
(-3530 from 1943)
3.76998
19434
No change from 1942
55901
(+1011 from 1942)
3.84301
19424
No change from 1941
54890
(+7098 from 1941)
3.89761
19414
No change from 1940
47792
(+3015 from 1940)
3.80856
19404
No change from 1939
44777
(+2702 from 1939)
3.77493
19394
No change from 1938
42075
(-355 from 1938)
3.71259
19384
No change from 1937
42430
(+1707 from 1937)
3.73342
19374
No change from 1936
40723
(+1327 from 1936)
3.72361
19364
No change from 1935
39396
(-804 from 1935)
3.70159
19354
No change from 1934
40200
(+25 from 1934)
3.75844
19344
No change from 1933
40175
(+1129 from 1933)
3.78319
19334
No change from 1932
39046
(-3081 from 1932)
3.82732
19324
No change from 1931
42127
(-1152 from 1931)
3.92086
19314
No change from 1930
43279
(-3993 from 1930)
4.04562
19304
No change from 1929
47272
(-541 from 1929)
4.18517
19294
No change from 1928
47813
(-1304 from 1928)
4.31678
19284
No change from 1927
49117
(-2363 from 1927)
4.30411
19274
No change from 1926
51480
(-441 from 1926)
4.43061
19264
(-1 from 1925)
51921
(-1387 from 1925)
4.53283
19253
No change from 1924
53308
(-198 from 1924)
4.62976
19243
No change from 1923
53506
(+1370 from 1923)
4.57695
19233
No change from 1922
52136
(+1023 from 1922)
4.60454
19223
No change from 1921
51113
(-749 from 1921)
4.54258
19213
(-1 from 1920)
51862
(+1716 from 1920)
4.55757
19202
No change from 1919
50146
(+6176 from 1919)
4.55549
19192
No change from 1918
43970
(-1321 from 1918)
4.33063
19182
No change from 1917
45291
(+2869 from 1917)
4.31898
19172
No change from 1916
42422
(+2004 from 1916)
4.42215
19162
No change from 1915
40418
(+1855 from 1915)
4.37784
19152
No change from 1914
38563
(+8810 from 1914)
4.37756
19142
No change from 1913
29753
(+6215 from 1913)
4.35418
19132
No change from 1912
23538
(+3912 from 1912)
4.38940
19122
No change from 1911
19626
(+9033 from 1911)
4.34727
19112
(+1 from 1910)
10593
(+1749 from 1910)
4.38824
19103
(-1 from 1909)
8844
(+931 from 1909)
4.24140
19092
No change from 1908
7913
(+384 from 1908)
4.47408
19082
No change from 1907
7529
(+625 from 1907)
4.52554
19072
No change from 1906
6904
(+338 from 1906)
4.35353
19062
No change from 1905
6566
(+71 from 1905)
4.55763
19052
No change from 1904
6495
(+79 from 1904)
4.53457
19042
No change from 1903
6416
(+105 from 1903)
4.63239
19032
No change from 1902
6311
(-306 from 1902)
4.88007
19022
No change from 1901
6617
(+627 from 1901)
4.98456
19012
No change from 1900
5990
(-2589 from 1900)
5.18202
19002
No change from 1899
8579
(+2493 from 1899)
5.29163
18992
No change from 1898
6086
(-1314 from 1898)
5.28326
18982
No change from 1897
7400
(+202 from 1897)
5.60186
18972
No change from 1896
7198
(-549 from 1896)
5.90281
18962
No change from 1895
7747
(+470 from 1895)
6.00217
18952
No change from 1894
7277
(+3 from 1894)
5.74612
18942
No change from 1893
7274
(+51 from 1893)
5.82423
18932
No change from 1892
7223
(-559 from 1892)
5.96740
18922
No change from 1891
7782
(+1019 from 1891)
5.92003
18912
No change from 1890
6763
(-731 from 1890)
6.18954
18902
No change from 1889
7494
(-278 from 1889)
6.26065
18892
No change from 1888
7772
(-933 from 1888)
6.52934
18882
No change from 1887
8705
(+1235 from 1887)
6.70095
18872
No change from 1886
7470
(-782 from 1886)
6.83371
18862
No change from 1885
8252
(+208 from 1885)
6.93207
18852
No change from 1884
8044
(-853 from 1884)
6.93777
18842
No change from 1883
8897
(+510 from 1883)
7.24877
18832
No change from 1882
8387
(-911 from 1882)
7.45677
18822
No change from 1881
9298
(+774 from 1881)
7.61938
18812
No change from 1880
8524
(-1008 from 1880)
7.87247
18802
First SSA data recorded
9532
First SSA data recorded
8.05074

American States Popularity Rankings for William

(From the Most to Least Popular, Based on Number of Births )

New York (NY)

New York (NY) flagNew York (NY)#262021#312022#222023

Pennsylvania (PA)

Pennsylvania (PA) flagPennsylvania (PA)#172021#152022#142023

California (CA)

California (CA) flagCalifornia (CA)#352021#422022#422023

Ohio (OH)

Ohio (OH) flagOhio (OH)#62021#92022#82023

Illinois (IL)

Illinois (IL) flagIllinois (IL)#82021#92022#132023

Texas (TX)

Texas (TX) flagTexas (TX)#172021#192022#232023

North Carolina (NC)

North Carolina (NC) flagNorth Carolina (NC)#32021#32022#32023

Michigan (MI)

Michigan (MI) flagMichigan (MI)#142021#112022#132023

Georgia (GA)

Georgia (GA) flagGeorgia (GA)#32021#32022#32023

New Jersey (NJ)

New Jersey (NJ) flagNew Jersey (NJ)#282021#282022#382023

Virginia (VA)

Virginia (VA) flagVirginia (VA)#42021#52022#52023

Massachusetts (MA)

Massachusetts (MA) flagMassachusetts (MA)#92021#102022#112023

Tennessee (TN)

Tennessee (TN) flagTennessee (TN)#12021#22022#42023

Florida (FL)

Florida (FL) flagFlorida (FL)#172021#252022#222023

Kentucky (KY)

Kentucky (KY) flagKentucky (KY)#42021#42022#42023

Alabama (AL)

Alabama (AL) flagAlabama (AL)#12021#12022#12023

Missouri (MO)

Missouri (MO) flagMissouri (MO)#42021#52022#62023

Indiana (IN)

Indiana (IN) flagIndiana (IN)#92021#122022#82023

South Carolina (SC)

South Carolina (SC) flagSouth Carolina (SC)#12021#32022#22023

Maryland (MD)

Maryland (MD) flagMaryland (MD)#62021#62022#142023

Wisconsin (WI)

Wisconsin (WI) flagWisconsin (WI)#92021#92022#62023

Mississippi (MS)

Mississippi (MS) flagMississippi (MS)#12021#52022#32023

West Virginia (WV)

West Virginia (WV) flagWest Virginia (WV)#162021#122022#472023

Connecticut (CT)

Connecticut (CT) flagConnecticut (CT)#82021#122022#72023

Minnesota (MN)

Minnesota (MN) flagMinnesota (MN)#72021#112022#52023

Louisiana (LA)

Louisiana (LA) flagLouisiana (LA)#52021#82022#82023

Oklahoma (OK)

Oklahoma (OK) flagOklahoma (OK)#52021#132022#62023

Arkansas (AR)

Arkansas (AR) flagArkansas (AR)#62021#52022#52023

Washington (WA)

Washington (WA) flagWashington (WA)#72021#82022#122023

Iowa (IA)

Iowa (IA) flagIowa (IA)#122021#52022#82023

Kansas (KS)

Kansas (KS) flagKansas (KS)#62021#102022#92023

Colorado (CO)

Colorado (CO) flagColorado (CO)#62021#62022#72023

District of Columbia (DC)

District of Columbia (DC) flagDistrict of Columbia (DC)#22021#62022#92023

Oregon (OR)

Oregon (OR) flagOregon (OR)#102021#82022#82023

Nebraska (NE)

Nebraska (NE) flagNebraska (NE)#52021#92022#62023

Arizona (AZ)

Arizona (AZ) flagArizona (AZ)#162021#262022#362023

Rhode Island (RI)

Rhode Island (RI) flagRhode Island (RI)#602021#172022#102023

Utah (UT)

Utah (UT) flagUtah (UT)#42021#32022#42023

Maine (ME)

Maine (ME) flagMaine (ME)#32021#62022#252023

Montana (MT)

Montana (MT) flagMontana (MT)#122021#12022#102023

Delaware (DE)

Delaware (DE) flagDelaware (DE)#212021#52022#202023

Idaho (ID)

Idaho (ID) flagIdaho (ID)#42021#52022#62023

New Hampshire (NH)

New Hampshire (NH) flagNew Hampshire (NH)#92021#62022#52023

New Mexico (NM)

New Mexico (NM) flagNew Mexico (NM)#362021#452022#532023

South Dakota (SD)

South Dakota (SD) flagSouth Dakota (SD)#142021#32022#72023

Hawaii (HI)

Hawaii (HI) flagHawaii (HI)#252021#472022#302023

North Dakota (ND)

North Dakota (ND) flagNorth Dakota (ND)#132021#72022#112023

Nevada (NV)

Nevada (NV) flagNevada (NV)#202021#232022#362023

Vermont (VT)

Vermont (VT) flagVermont (VT)#82021#82022#282023

Wyoming (WY)

Wyoming (WY) flagWyoming (WY)#72021#42022#82023

Alaska (AK)

Alaska (AK) flagAlaska (AK)#62021#62022#72023

Popularity Rankings for William in other Countries and American Territories

(From the Most to Least Popular, Based on Rankings)

Popularity in Denmark

Denmark flagDenmark#32021#12022#2First half of 2023

Popularity in Sweden

Sweden flagSweden#22021#12022#32023

Popularity in Other American Territories

American Samoa flag American Samoa
Guam flag Guam
Northern Mariana Islands flag Northern Mariana Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands flag U.S. Virgin Islands

Other American Territories flagOther American Territories#42017#12018#102019

Popularity in Medieval England

Medieval England flagMedieval England#21377-1381

Popularity in Quebec, Canada

Quebec, Canada flagQuebec, Canada#22020#22021#22022

Popularity in Australia (NSW)

Australia (NSW) flagAustralia (NSW)#42021#42022#82023

Popularity in Norway

Norway flagNorway#52021#42022#52023

Popularity in New Zealand

New Zealand flagNew Zealand#92021#102022#142023

Popularity in Canada

Canada flagCanada#112021#102022#252023

Popularity in England and Wales

England and Wales flagEngland and Wales#172019#202020#212021

Popularity in Scotland

Scotland flagScotland#292021#402022#532023

Popularity in Belgium

Belgium flagBelgium#402020#442021#332022

Popularity in Ireland

Ireland flagIreland#572021#672022#662023

Popularity in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland flagNorthern Ireland#612021#672022#582023

Popularity in France

France flagFrance#862019#922020#1092021

Popularity in Switzerland

Switzerland flagSwitzerland#1062020#1002021#872022

Popularity in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico flagPuerto Rico#1032021#882022#1922023

Popularity in Portugal

Portugal flagPortugal#952012

Popularity in Iceland

Iceland flagIceland#2292021#2132022#1162023

Popularity in Chile

Chile flagChile#1632019#1752020#1792021

Popularity in Argentina

Argentina flagArgentina#1902011#1982012#1872014

Popularity in Greenland

Greenland flagGreenland#1872019#1942020#1872021

Popularity in Poland

Poland flagPoland#2112021#2452022#2492023

Popularity in Germany

Germany flagGermany#2572021#2552022#2342023

Popularity in Mexico

Mexico flagMexico#3202020#3132021

Source: Social Security Administration (SSA) and Other National Sources

Is William a Name for Boys or Girls?

William is a boy’s name. Its strong, traditional sound and long history of use for males make it a well-loved name for boys.

Variants, Nicknames, Diminutives, and Ideal Middle Names for William

William in Famous People Names, Pop Culture, and Places

  • William Shakespeare (Playwright, 1564–1616): An English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language.
  • William Faulkner (Author, 1897–1962): An American writer and Nobel Prize laureate noted for his novels set in the American South.
  • William Howard Taft (Politician, 1857–1930): The 27th President of the United States and later the 10th Chief Justice of the United States.
  • William Wallace (Freedom Fighter, 1270–1305): A Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.
  • William Hurt (Actor, born 1950): An American actor acclaimed for his roles in "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Broadcast News."
  • William Shatner (Actor, born 1931): A Canadian actor best recognized for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in the "Star Trek" series.
  • William Wordsworth (Poet, 1770–1850): An English Romantic poet who helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature.
  • William Randolph Hearst (Publisher, 1863–1951): An American businessman, newspaper publisher, and politician who developed the nation's largest newspaper chain.
  • William H. Macy (Actor, born 1950): An American actor and director celebrated for his roles in "Fargo" and the TV series "Shameless."
  • William Golding (Author, 1911–1993): An English novelist, playwright, and poet best known for his novel "Lord of the Flies."
  • William Turner ("Pirates of the Caribbean," 2003 Film Series): A blacksmith turned pirate who becomes a legendary captain and the love interest of Elizabeth Swann.
  • William "Will" Smith ("The Fresh Prince o