Meaning: Determined protector
Alternate spellings: Bill, Billy, Will, Wilhelm, Guillermo, Willie
William – a German name that means “determined protector” – has a stunning record of popularity: it’s been in the top 20 names in the U.S. since 1880. For all but thirty of those years, it’s been in the top 10 names. Yes, there will likely be more than one William in your kid’s class, but you’ll always be able to find the keychain with his name on it at Disneyland.
There was a time in the ninth century (after the Norman Conquest, led by William the Conqueror) that the name William was even more popular than the perennially popular name John. When John took over in the Middle Ages, William remained the second most popular name for centuries. Despite its popularity, it has never snagged that coveted #1 spot in the U.S.
By The Numbers
U.S. Rank by Year
Rank of Similar Names in 2008