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The first name 

Charles is a first name typically given to boys, but in rare cases also used as a girls name.

The name Charles is very popular!

The first name Charles is one of the top 100 most popular boys names in the US – currently at #51 in our SmartGenius ranking. Over 1,000 babies each year are named Charles, accounting for approximately 0.40 % of all newborn boys. In total, there are currently 2,299,419 people – children, adults and seniors – named Charles living in the United States, which is approximately 0.69 % of the entire population.

You won't believe all there is 
to discover about the name

What does the name 
Charles mean?

Charles is the English and French variant of the German name Karl. It means “free man” and is also a common surname.

Did you know… that Charles has been a popular name for princes and kings for many centuries?

Charles has several famous namesakes

English scientist

Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882)
Darwin was an English naturalist and scientist who is best known for his theory of evolution by natural selection. He published his theory with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species.

Famous novelist

Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870)
The English writer and social critic created some of the worlds best-known fictional characters such as David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. Dickens is considered one of the greatest novelists in the English language.

President of France

Charles de Gaulle (1890 - 1970)
The French statesman and general served as the President of France from 1959 to 1969. He was a key figure in the French Resistance during World War II and is known for his role in shaping the modern French state.

American cartoonist

Charles Schulz (1922 - 2000)
Schulz is best known for creating the comic strip Peanuts featuring the characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy. He is regarded as one of the most famous cartoonists and cited by many as a major influence, including Matt Groening, creator of the tv-series "The Simpsons".

Go on a journey to places 
with your name

When you hear the name Charles, you might first think of people. But did you know that there are also places with the name Charles? Are you also called Charles? Maybe one day you will visit the places that are named just like you...

Charles Bridge

is a famous bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, which crosses the Vltava River. It was built in the 14th century and is one of Prague's most famous landmarks.

Charles de Gaulle Airport

is the largest international airport in France and is located near Paris. It was named after the French President Charles de Gaulle.

Charles University

is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 1348 and was named after the Czech King Charles IV.

Also in Prague lies

Charles Square, which, like the university, was named after the Czech King Charles IV. It is the city's largest square and is home to many important buildings and sights.

Charles -
a popular traditional name in the U.S.

History tends to focus on the most famous and the best. But even those who play second fiddle leave their mark: Charles is one of those names without which the orchestra would be incomplete. In fact, it has reached the SmartGenius top ranking of #4 more than once, although the last time was a long time ago, way back in the 19th century in 1883. But even though the peak of its popularity was more than 100 years ago, the name Charles has been given to newborn boys every year since records began. Charles is a name of exceptional, enduring popularity that conveys the classic vibes of the 19th century.

In years where the graph has no value, the name Charles was given less than five times or even none at all in the entire USA.

Charles has arrived in the 21st century

Charles peaked in popularity a long time ago, but it still made it into the 21st century. In 2021, it ranked #51 in our statistics - perhaps a far cry from when your ancestors were children and Charles made it into the top ten more than once, but then again: Traditional names often turn out to be perennial favorites, so perhaps it is only a matter of time before Charles regains its top spot.

Charles -
especially popular in West Virginia

Charles is one of the most common names in the U.S. – in all states combined, 2,299,419 people would currently turn around if you called out CHARLES really loud. Across all states and age groups, this lands Charles on position 9 in our SmartGenius ranking of the top male names – of course, the current popularity as a baby name for newborns looks somewhat different, as you can see from the statistics above. With so many people named Charles, it’s no surprise that the name is widely used in every single state in the U.S., but would you have guessed that Charles is especially popular in West Virginia? Here, 3,01% of all male residents bear the name Charles – that is a total of 45,878 men with this popular name and no other state has as many men named Charles relative to its population. But that’s not all the popularity: In West Virginia Charles even belongs to the top 10 of all male names – the 45,878 men called Charleselevate their name up to place #5 in the SmartGenius ranking of the most common male names for West Virginia.

Charles has 7 letters 
and begins with a C

Well, you might say, you probably figured that out yourself! But what you might not know is: The letter C is a frequent initial letter for boys’ names. This is because 5.2% of all common boys’ names in the US begin with this letter. The most common first letters of boys' names, by the way, are J, A and D.

With seven letters, the name Charles has a typical length for first names in the US. In fact, 26% of all common first names consist of exactly seven letters. 52% of all first names are shorter, while 22% have eight letters or more. On average, first names in the US (not counting hyphenated names) are 6.5 letters long. There are no significant differences between boys' and girls' names.

With 5.2% of all boys' names that begin with a C, this first letter is thus much more common than the average of all letters. And which boys’ name beginning with C do you think is the most common in the US? The answer is... Charles.

Other names with 
C, h, a, r, l, e and s

If you take all the letters in the name Charles – C, h, a, r, l, e and s – and put them together again, you can form other names, such as Charels or others.

With hands, flags and sounds 
How to say Charles

If your name is Charles and someone asks after your name, you can of course just tell them what it is. But sometimes that isn't so easy - what if it's too loud, and you don't understand them well? Or what if the other person is so far away that you can see them but not hear them? In these situations, you can communicate your name in so many other ways: you call spell it, sign it, or even use a flag to wave it...

This is how you spell the name Charles

So that everyone really understands you when you have to spell the name Charles, you can simply say:








This is how the name Charles is spelled in the NATO phonetic alphabet

The NATO alphabet often helps people spell words on the phone or radio when there are communication problems.

How do you write Charles in Braille?

Braille is made up of dots, which the blind and visually impaired can feel to read words.



You want to tell a deaf person that your name is Charles

Just use American Sign Language!

The name Charles is particularly colorful in the Semaphore flag signaling system!

These flags are used for maritime communication - each flag represents a letter.


Have you ever waved the name Charles

In the navy, sailors of two ships might wave flags to each other to send messages. A sailor holds two flags in specific positions to represent different letters.


Beeping like crazy...

In Morse code, letters and other characters are represented only by a series of short and long tones. For example, a short tone followed by a long tone stands for the letter A. Charles sounds like this: