Baby Names

William Name Meaning & Popular Variations (Plus Cool Nicknames)

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william name meaning



William ranks sixth in the top 10 baby boy names of 2021 in the US, according to the SSA (Social Security Administration). You might ask, “What’s the William name meaning, and why is it popular?” (1)

“William” is a warrior name that means “resolute protector” or “strong-willed warrior.”

This name has a German origin but is popular in the US and worldwide. It’s even used as a place name for a luxury hotel, The William Vale, in New York.

You might also be curious whether William is a biblical name (like Daniel and James), if it’s a powerful name, and what matching names to choose for your baby.

Continue reading to learn more.


William Name Meaning: More Information

Name Origin Of William

This classic boy name comes from the German nameWilhelm,” composed of the Germanic elements:

  • wil,” which means “will” or “desire” 
  • “helm,” which “helmet” or “protection”



  • WIL-lee-yahm”


What’s the Gender Of A William?

It’s primarily used as a boy name with variations as a girl name (e.g., “Wilhelmina”) or a gender-neutral name (such as “Billie” or “Willie”).


Is William A Strong & Powerful Name?

Yes. William is a powerful name. It’s associated with many famous people, including rulers, conquerors, and brilliant minds (e.g., writers, poets, etc.).

For example, it’s the name of William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, France. During the period known as the Norman Conquest, he sailed across the channel and became the first Norman king of England. (2)

There have been five kings of England named William. The the British royal family’s current heir, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, might also use his given name as his regnal name* when he inherits the throne. 

*Formal name of a monarch or pope during their reign (different or the same as their given name)


Yes. William currently ranks sixth in the US top 10 most popular baby names (boys) in 2021. (1)

William also appears to be popular in other countries. For example, while it isn’t a Norwegian name, it ranks as the #10 most popular name for boys in Norway (also in 2021). (3)

“Liam,” an Irish boy name and a variant of “William,” ranked #1 most popular boy name in the US for the same year.


William Popularity Trend Over The Years

Since the year 2000, this classic name has remained in the top 10 baby names in the US (sometimes in #11 but never lower), according to the SSA. (4)

william name meaning


William also ranks sixth in the most popular boy names of the century, based on SSA data from 1922 to 2021. (5)


William Popularity In US States

Name trends vary, yet William remains a favorite across the US. 

For example, based on SSA data for 2021, “William” is #1 in the following states: (6)

  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee


Liam” is in the top 5 for all the states, while “William” is also found in many of these places. (6)


FAQs About William Name Meaning

What’s The Biblical Meaning Of William?

It isn’t a biblical boy name and doesn’t have a biblical meaning.


How Many Williams Are In The Bible?

None. This German boy name isn’t mentioned in the Bible.


What Does William Mean In Hebrew?

“Velvel” is believed to be the closest name to “William” in Hebrew or Yiddish (West Germanic language used by the Jewish people). 

However, “Velvel” means “wolf,” not “resolute protector” or “strong-willed warrior.”


What’s The Personality Of A William?

Because the name is linked to many kings of England and other powerful rulers, a William might be viewed as a strong, smart, and confident person.


Is William A Cool & Hip Name For My Baby?

William is a vintage, old-fashioned boy name that remains a cool choice for babies. Still, many parents also choose “Liam” or other modern-sounding variants like “Billy.” 


Is William A Royal First Or Last Name?

Rules vary in different monarchies, but for the British Royal family, “William” is a royal first name because the royals don’t usually use last names (surnames). But when they do, the last name is usually their royal house (e.g., Prince William’s real last name is “Mountbatten-Windsor”), not a regular last name.


William Name Variations 

Boy Name Variations

  • Guglielmo (Italian name)
  • Guillaume (French name)
  • Guilherme (Portuguese)
  • Guillermo (Spanish)
  • Gwilym (Welsh)
  • Liam (Irish name)
  • Uilyam (Russian name)
  • Velvel (Hebrew and Yiddish)
  • Vilek (Czech)
  • Viliam (Norwegian name)
  • Viliamu (Samoan, a Polynesian language)
  • Viljo (Finnish)
  • Vilko (Czech)
  • Villiam (Nordic and Scandinavian)
  • Vilyam (Turkish)
  • Wallam (Persian)
  • Welfel (Yiddish)
  • Whilliam (Swedish, language in Sweden)
  • Wilhelm (German, Swedish, and Polish name)
  • Wilhelmus (Low German)
  • Wiljam (Finnish and Norwegian)
  • Willem (Dutch, language in the Netherlands)
  • Willian (English)
  • Willum (Scottish)


Girl Name Variations


Unisex Name Variations

  • Billie
  • Willie


What Are The Nicknames & Short Names For William?

  • Bill
  • Billy
  • Gill
  • Guille
  • Liam
  • Will
  • Willie
  • Willy
  • Wim


Names You Can Pair With William

Middle Names For Boys

  • Anthony
  • Henry
  • Nicholas
  • Oliver
  • Rafael


Suggested Sibling Or Twin Names

  • Abigail
  • Alexander
  • Andrew
  • Beatrice
  • Benjamin
  • Catherine
  • Charlotte
  • Edward
  • Elizabeth
  • Hannah
  • Isabella
  • Joseph
  • Matthew
  • Michael
  • Olivia
  • Richard
  • Samantha
  • Sophia


Rhyming Or Similar Names 

  • Statham 
  • Wickam
  • Wolfram
  • Wyndham


Other Names For Boys That Start with W

  • Wendel
  • Wesley
  • Whistler
  • Wilfred
  • Winston
  • Wyatt


Famous Williams

  • Prince WilliamDuke of Cambridge and England’s crown prince
  • William FaulknerAmerican fiction writer
  • William ShakespeareEnglish playwright
  • William Shatner – “Star Trek” actor
  • William the Conqueror – First Norman monarch of England
  • William Wordsworth – English poet


  • Will Arnett – Canadian-American actor
  • Will Smith – Rapper, actor, and movie star


  • Bill Gates III – Microsoft co-founder
  • Bill Murray – American comedian
  • Bill Nye – American TV presenter known as “The Science Guy”
  • Billie Eilish – American singer-songwriter
  • Billie Joe Armstrong – American musician
  • Billy Joel – American singer and pianist
  • Billy Idol – English musician and actor
  • President Bill Clinton – Former US president


Williams In Pop Culture Other & Fantasy Characters

  • William “Will” Byers – Main character in “Stranger Things
  • Will Turner – Character in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series
  • William Thatcher – Protagonist in “A Knight’s Tale


William In Songs

  • Ballad of William Worthy
  • Billy, Don’t Be A Hero
  • William, It Was Really Nothing


Name Lists With “William” On Motherhood Community


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