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William is a popular given name of an old
Germanic
Germanic
origin.Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges, ''Oxford Dictionary of First Names'',
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of University of Oxford. It is the largest university press in the world, and the second oldest after Cambridge University Press. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is govern ...
, 2nd edition, , p. 276.
It became very popular in the
English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading language of international discourse in the 21st centu ...

English language
after the
Norman conquest of England The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of Normans, Duchy of Brittany, Bretons, County of Flanders, Flemish, and men from other Kingdom of France, French provinces, all ...
in 1066,All Things William
"Meaning & Origin of the Name"
/ref> and remained so throughout the Middle Ages and into the modern era. It is sometimes abbreviated "Wm." Shortened familiar versions in English include
Will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's ( testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...
,
Willy Willy or Willie is a masculine, male given name, often a diminutive form (hypocorism A hypocorism ( or ; from Ancient Greek: (), from (), 'to call by pet names') or pet name is a name used to show affection for a person or object. It can be ...
,
Willie Willy or Willie is a masculine, male given name, often a diminutive form (hypocorism A hypocorism ( or ; from Ancient Greek: (), from (), 'to call by pet names') or pet name is a name used to show affection for a person or object. It can be ...

Willie
, Bill, and Billy. A common Irish form is
Liam Liam is a short form of the Irish name "Uilliam" or the old Germanic name William. Etymology The original name was a merging of two Old German elements: ''willa'' ("will" or "resolution"); and ''helma'' ("helmet"). The juxtaposition of these e ...
. Scottish
diminutives A diminutive is a root word that has been modified to convey a slighter degree of its root meaning, to convey the smallness of the object or quality named, or to convey a sense of intimacy or endearment. A ( abbreviated ) is a word-formation dev ...
include Wull,
Willie Willy or Willie is a masculine, male given name, often a diminutive form (hypocorism A hypocorism ( or ; from Ancient Greek: (), from (), 'to call by pet names') or pet name is a name used to show affection for a person or object. It can be ...

Willie
or Wullie (see
Oor Wullie ''Oor Wullie'' ( en, Our Willie) is a Scottish comic strip published in the D.C. Thomson newspaper ''The Sunday Post''. It features a character called Wullie; Wullie is the familiar Scots language, Scots nickname for boys named William. His trad ...
or Douglas for example). Female forms are Willa,
WilleminaWillemina is a Dutch feminine given name similar to Wilhelmina. Bearers often use a short form in daily life, including ''Ineke'', ''Mien'', ''Miep'', ''Wil'', ''Will'', ''Willeke'', ''Willy'', and ''Wilma''. People with the name include: * Wille ...
, Willamette, Wilma and Wilhelmina.


Etymology

William is related to the given name ''Wilhelm'' (cf. Proto-Germanic ''*Wiljahelmaz'' > German ''Wilhelm (name), Wilhelm'' and Old Norse ''Vilhjálmr''). By regular sound changes, the native, inherited English form of the name should be ''*Wilhelm'' as well (although the name is not actually attested in the history of English, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to William the Conqueror as ''Willelm''). That is a compound (linguistics), compound of two distinct elements: ''wil'' = "will or desire"; ''helm''; Old English ''helm'' "helmet, protection"; English ''helm'' "knight's large helmet". In fact, the form ''William'' is clearly identified as typical of the Norman language, Old Norman form ''Williame, Willame'', because first, the English language should have retained ''(h)elm'' (see common words ''helm, helmet''), second, ''-iaume'' [iaʷm] (typical of Popular French, see Guillaume (given name), Guillaume) turned to ''-iame'' [iam] (typical of some Norman and Picard dialects) > English ''-iam''. Historically, there was first a triphthongation of ''-elm'' (early Gallo-Romance form WILLELMU) into [iaʷ] + [m] in Old Norman-French, quite similar in Old Central French [eaʷ] + [m]. Then, the triphthong ''-iau'' was submitted to a monophthongation localized on the second part of the triphthong áu > āò > ā. For instance, this development can be followed in the different versions of the name in the Wace's ''Roman de Rou''. or in the Cauchois dialect, Cauchois variant forms of common words such as ''osias'' (plural of ''osè'' "bird", older ''oisel'') / Regular Norman ''oisiaus'' "birds" (French sing. ''oiseau'', pl. ''oiseaux''). The spelling and phonetics ''Wi-'' [wi] is a characteristic trait of the Northern French dialects, but the pronunciation changed in Norman from [wi] to [vi] in the 12th century (cf. the Norman surnames ''Villon (surname), Villon'' and ''Villamaux'' "little William"), unlike the Central French and Southern Norman that turned the Germanic ''Wi-'' into ''Gui-'' [gwi] > [gi]. The Modern French spelling is . The first well-known carrier of the name was Charlemagne's cousin William of Gellone, a.k.a. Guilhem, William of Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, or William Short-Nose (755–812). This William is immortalized in the Chanson de Guillaume and his esteem may account for the name's subsequent popularity among European nobility.


English history

The English "William" is taken from the Anglo-Norman language and was transmitted to England after the Norman conquest in the 11th century, and soon became the most popular name in England, along with other Norman names such as Robert (the English cognate was wikt:Hreodbeorht#Old English, Hrēodbeorht, which by regular sound changes would have developed into something along the lines of "Reedbart"), Richard, Roger (the English cognate was Hroðgar), Henry (surname), Henry(all of possible Germanic origin and may have been transmitted through the Normans' use of Old French). The name 'Wilkin' is also of medieval origin taken from the shortened version of William (Will) with the suffix "kin" added.


Variants and cognates

*Weelum (Scots language, Scots) *Willum (Scots language, Scots) *Willian, Guilherme (Portuguese language, Portuguese) *Viliamu (Samoan language, Samoan) *Viliami (Tongan language, Tongan) *Whiriyamu (Ikalanga language, Karanga) *Whiliyamu (Northern Ndebele language, Ndebele) *Wilhelm (German language, German, Polish language, Polish, Swedish language, Swedish) *Willem, Wilhelmus (Dutch language, Dutch, Frisian languages, Frisian, Low German) *Willem, Wilhelm (Afrikaans language, Afrikaans) *Wiremu (Māori language, Maori) *Willelm (Old English) *Wullie, Wully, Weelum, Willum (Scots language, Scots) *Williama (Hawaiian language, Hawaiian) *Wellëm (Luxembourgish language, Luxembourgish) *Walaam (Persian language, Persian) *Wiliyom, Wiliyem (Bengali language, Bengali) *Vĩnh Liêm, Vĩnh Lâm (Vietnamese language, Vietnamese) *Billem (Toba Batak language, Toba Batak) *Cuglierme (Neapolitan language, Neapolitan) *Gilen, Guilen (Basque language, Basque) *Gulielmus, Vilhelmus, Willelmus, Gullelmus, Gullielmus, Villelmus (Latin) *Guglielmo (Italian language, Italian) *Guillaume (French language, French) *Guildhelm (Old Dutch) *Guilhem (Occitan language, Occitan) *Guillem, Guim (Catalan language, Catalan) *Guillén (Aragonese language, Aragonese) *Guillermo (Spanish language, Spanish) *Guilherme (Portuguese language, Portuguese) *Guillerme (Galician language, Galician) *Gwilym (Welsh language, Welsh) *Gwilherm (Breton language, Breton) *Gugghiermu (Sicilian language, Sicilian) *Gllâome (Modern Norman language, Norman) *Uilliam, Ulliam (Irish language, Irish) *
Liam Liam is a short form of the Irish name "Uilliam" or the old Germanic name William. Etymology The original name was a merging of two Old German elements: ''willa'' ("will" or "resolution"); and ''helma'' ("helmet"). The juxtaposition of these e ...
(Irish language, Irish) *Illiam (Manx language, Manx Gaelic) *Uilleam (Scottish Gaelic) *وليم (Arabic Language, Arabic) *Gulielm (Albanian language, Albanian) *Уилиам – Uiliam (Bulgarian language, Bulgarian) *װֶעלװֶעל – /ˈvelvel/ (Yiddish language, Yiddish) *Villem, Villu (Estonian language, Estonian) *Вильгельм, Уильям – Vil'gel'm, Uil'yam (Russian language, Russian) *Вільгельм, Вільям – Vil'hel'm, Vil'yam (Ukrainian language, Ukrainian) *Уільям, Вільям – Uiĺjam, Viĺjam (Belarusian language, Belarusian) *Villem – Estonian language, Estonian *Vilhelm (Danish language, Danish, Norwegian language, Norwegian, Romanian language, Romanian, Swedish language, Swedish) *Vilhelmo (Esperanto) *Vilhelms (Latvian language, Latvian) *Viliam (Slovak language, Slovak) *Viljem (Slovene language, Slovene) *ויליאם – /ˈviljam/ (older propronunciation), /ˈwiljam/ (contemporary) (Hebrew language, Hebrew) *Vilim (Croatian language, Croatian) *Vilém (Czech language, Czech) *Vilmos (Hungarian language, Hungarian) *Viljams, Vilhelms, Vilis (Latvian language, Latvian) *Vilius, Viliumas, Vilhelmas (Lithuanian language, Lithuanian) *Viljami, Ville, Vilho, Viljo (Finnish language, Finnish) *Vilhjálmur (Icelandic language, Icelandic) *Vilhjálmur, Viljormur (Faroese language, Faroese) *Vilhjálmr (Old Norse) *Vilko (Croatian language, Croatian) *Vilyam, Vilyım (Turkish language, Turkish) *Vėljams (Samogitian dialect, Samogitian) *Γουλιέλμος (Wouliélmos) (Greek language, Greek) *ܘܠܝܡ (Wil-yam) (Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Assyrian) *Գուլիելմոս (Goulielmós) (Armenian language, Armenian) ;Shortened names * Bill * Billy *Gil (given name), Gil *
Will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's ( testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...
*Wil (given name), Wil *Willy, Willy, Willie *Gui *Wim *Guiguille, Guigui (French language) *Guille (Spanish language, Spanish) *
Liam Liam is a short form of the Irish name "Uilliam" or the old Germanic name William. Etymology The original name was a merging of two Old German elements: ''willa'' ("will" or "resolution"); and ''helma'' ("helmet"). The juxtaposition of these e ...
*Memo (Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica) * Wim, Pim (name), Pim, Jelle (Dutch language, Dutch)


People named William


See also

* *Bill (disambiguation) *Billy (disambiguation) *King William (disambiguation) *Saint William (disambiguation) *Wilhelm (disambiguation)


References

{{Authority control English-language masculine given names English masculine given names German masculine given names