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The first name 

William is a male first name. In very rare cases it is also used for girls.

William is a very popular name!

In the US, William is one of the most popular names ever. In the SmartGenius ranking recently, it has regularly been among the top 10 most common boys names and is currently in place 3. In fact, one out auf 300 boys under the age of 10 is named William. In total, there are currently 3,922,050 people – children, adults and seniors – named William living in the United States, which is approximately 1.2 % of the entire population.

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

What does the name 
William mean?

The first name William is an English form of the German first name Wilhelm. This can be traced back to the old German words ‘willio’ for ‘will’ and ‘helm’ for ‘helmet’, so the name is often interpreted as ‘strong-willed protector’.

Did you know... that the name William is a timeless classic and its history can be traced back over a thousand years.

William is a name shared by several famous people

An Actor

William Shatner (*1931)
The actor is best known for his roles as Captain James T. Kirk in 'Star Trek', T.J. Hooker in the series of the same name and as Denny Crane in the series 'Boston Legal'. In addition to acting, he also writes books, works as a voice actor, producer and director, and even sings.

A chemist

Sir William Ramsay (1852 - 1916)
The Scottish chemist received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904 for the discovery of the noble gas elements and their classification in the periodic table. Ramsay was thus honored for the discovery of the noble gases argon, krypton, xenon, neon and helium.

World famous writer

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
William Shakespeare is often called England's national poet or 'Bard of Avon'. He was an English playwright, poet and actor. His works are among the most important plays in world literature. In addition, his works are the most frequently performed and filmed comedies and tragedies.

President of the United States

William Jefferson 'Bill' Clinton (*1946)
Bill Clinton is an American politician of the Democratic Party. He served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2011. Previously, he was an attorney general and governer of Arkansas. He is also the husband of Hillary Clinton.

Famous painter

William Turner (1775 - 1851)
His full name was actually 'Joseph Mallord William Turner' but he is primarily known as William Turner. He is one of the most famous painters of the Romantic period. His favorite subjects were landscapes and seascapes, in which he also played a lot with light and atmospher.

A prince!

The Prince of Wales (*1982)
His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay and Duke of Cambridge, in short: The Prince of Wales or William, Prince of Wales, is a British nobleman and Crown Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since September 8, 2022.

Go on a journey to places 
with your name

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

On the island...

of Saint Croix, part of the United States Virgin Islands, is the settlement of William.

Near Fairfax...

resides an unincorporated community named William.

Several ships...

named William were built in the 18th and 19th centuries and used for whaling, for example.

In the world...

there are several streets with the name William, like in Australia, Ireland and the United States.

William -
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: William is one of those names without which the orchestra would be incomplete. In fact, the SmartGenius top ranking #2 has been hit more than once, although the last instance was some time ago, way back in the last century in 1920. But even though the peak of its popularity was many decades ago, the name William has been given to newborn boys every year since records began. William is a name of exceptional enduring popularity, conveying the special vibes of the 20th century.

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

William has arrived in the 21st century

The popularity of the name William peaked long ago, but the name has nevertheless arrived in the 21st century. In 2022, it ranked #6 in our statistics - maybe a far cry from when your grandparents or great-grandparents were kids and William made it into the top ten more than once, but still: Traditional names often turn out to be perennial favorites, so maybe it is only a matter of time before William returns to the top.

William -
especially popular in Delaware

William is one of the most common names in the U.S. – in all states combined, 3,922,050 people would currently turn around if you called out WILLIAM really loud. Across all states and age groups, this lands William on position 5 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 William, it’s no surprise that the name is widely used in every single state in the U.S., but would you have guessed that William is especially popular in Delaware? Here, 3,89% of all male residents bear the name William – that is a total of 13,901 men with this popular name and no other state has as many men named William relative to its population. But that’s not all the popularity: In Delaware William even belongs to the top 10 of all male names – the 13,901 men called Williamelevate their name up to place #2 in the SmartGenius ranking of the most common male names for Delaware.

William has 7 letters 
and begins with a W

Well, you might say, you probably figured that out yourself! But what you might not know is: The letter W is quite rare as an initial letter for boys' names: only 1.5% of all common boys' names in the US begin with a W, which means that this initial occurs only about half as often as the other letters on average. Nevertheless, W is by no means the rarest initial. While J, A and D are the most common first letters of boys' names, X, U and Q are the least common initials of feminine first names.

With seven letters, the name William 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.

That means that since 1.5% of all boys’ names begin with a W, this initial occurs less than half as often as the other letters on average. By the way, of the comparatively few boys' names that begin with a W, William is currently the most common.

Other names with 
W, i, l, l, i, a and m

If you take all the letters in the name William – W, i, l, l, i, a and m – and put them together again, you can form another name, such as Willaim.

With hands, flags and sounds 
How to say William

If your name is William 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 William

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








This is how the name William 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 William 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 William

Just use American Sign Language!

The name William 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 William

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. William sounds like this: