William - The Meaning, Origin And Other Facts About The Name

The name William comes from the Germanic name Willahelm, which is composed of two elements: wil meaning will or desire and helm meaning helmet or protection.

After the Norman conquest in 1066 the name William became extremely popular as many English boys were named after William the Conquer, the first Norman king of England.

In fact William soon became the most popular boy's name in England and has remained common right up until the present day - it was the ninth most popular name given to baby boys born in 2012.

Famous people called William:

Prince William, British royal

Will Smith, actor and singer

William Shatner, actor

Will.i.am, singer (born William Adams)

William H. Macy, actor

William Baldwin, actor

Will Ferrell, comedian and actor

William Dafoe, actor

Will Young, singer

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft (born William Henry Gates III)

Liam Gallagher, singer Oasis (born William John Paul Gallagher)

Billy Ray Cyrus, singer and Miley Cyrus's father (born William Ray Cyrus)

Bill Nighy, actor (born William Francis Nighy)

Flavor Flav, rapper (born William Jonathan Drayton Jr.)

Bill Murray, actor (born William James Murray)

Billy Connolly, comedian (born William Connolly)

Bill Clinton, US President (born William Jefferson Blythe III)

William Brown, the title character of the Just William series by Richmal Crompton

Willliam Wordsworth, poet

William Shakespeare, playwright

William Wallace, leader of 13th century Scottish rebellion

Can be shortened to: Will, Bill, Billy, Willie, Willy, Liam

Surnames to avoid pairing William with:

Any that you wouldn't want to put the word 'will' before. For instance, the surname Knot. Or if your surname is Way, it may elicit jokes about 'where there's a will, there's a way.' Also, watch out if your surname is Board, as the shortening 'Bill' could prove a tiresome combination.

Surnames beginning with an 'M' might cause problems too, as when said aloud this combination of sounds may result in elision – when two words slurred together end up sounding like one.

Similar names:

Wilber, Wilbert, Wilfred

Feminine variants:

Willamina, Wilda, Wileen, Wilfreda, Willa, Willette, Willow, Wilma

Celebrities who named their baby William:

Billy Bob Thornton, actor

Christopher Reeve, actor

Colin Firth, actor

Kirstie Alley, actor

Mel Gibson, actor