The name Charlie, now the fourth most popular baby name for boys in the UK, is a shortening of the name Charles. It comes from the Old German name Karl, which meant 'free man', ie. a peasant who was not bound to a feudal lord. In English this term became 'churl'.
One of the earliest famous bearers was the emperor Charlemagne (Charles the Great). After his celebrated reign, many European kings took the name Charles. The name was slow to catch on in the UK, however, until the reign of Charles I in the 17th century. Charles I's grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots, was raised in France and introduced the popular French name into her English family.
Famous people called Charlie:
Charlie Chaplin, actor and director (born Charles Spencer Chaplin)
Charlie Parker, jazz musician (born Charles Parker, Jr.)
Charlie Brooker, broadcaster and critic (born Charlton Brooker)
Charlie Sheen, actor (born Carlos Irwin Estévez)
Charlie Bucket, hero of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie Brown, protagonist of the Peanuts comic strip
Can be shortened to: Chaz, Chuck, Chad, Chip or use the full version Charles Surnames to avoid Charlie with:
Surnames beginning with an 'I' sound, ie. Inman or Ingman, might cause problems as when said aloud this combination of sounds may result in elision – when two words are slurred together end up sounding like one.
Foreign variants include Carlos (Spanish), Karol (Polish), Séarlas (Irish), and Carlo (Italian).
Similar English names include Carl, Carlton, Chester and Carter.
English variations include: Charlotte, Carol, Caroline, Carla, Carly, Carolyn, Carrie and Charlene
Celebrities who named their baby Charlie: