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William is a traditionally masculine name with French, English, German and Teutonic roots. It's said to mean "determined" or "resolute protector" or "strong helmet" — which, hey, is a resolute protector in and of itself. Other boys' names meaning "protector" include Alexander, Ansel, Armani, Callan, Casey, Duncan, Dustin, Liam, Harold, Kane, Ethan, Gunther, Ned, Murphy, and Oscar. Or stick with other strong "W" names like Wilburn, Walter, Warner, Wilbur, Wyatt, Warren, and Wade.

Perhaps the first famous William is William the Conqueror, who invaded Normandy in 1066 AD. The name became popular among the English at that point, but clearly still reigns supreme — just look at the current Prince William, aka William Duke of Cambridge, of England. Other notable Williams in history and pop culture include writers William S. Burroughs and William Faulkner; poets William Wordsworth, W.B. Yeats, ad William Blake; U.S. Presidents William Howard Taft, William Harrison, William McKinley, and Bill Clinton; civil rights activist and sociologist W.E.B. DuBois; and musicians Billy Joel, Count Basie (William James Basie), and Billy Squier. In Hollywood, most Williams have gone the Bill/Billy route when nicknaming themselves: Billy Crystal, Bill Murray, Bill Pullman, Bill Hader, Bill Cosby, Billy Connolly, Billy Crudup, Bill Nighy, and Billy Bob Thornton. Of course, William Holden, William H. Macy, and William Hurt stuck it out with the O.G. name.

But the most famous William of all time is arguably William Shakespeare. There are also plenty of Williams in Shakespeares' plays themselves, including in "Henry VI," "Henry VI, Part III" (Sir William Stanley), William who loves Audrey in "As You Like It," Page's son William in "The Merry Wives of Windsor," Sir William Catesby and Sir William Brandon in "'Richard III."

William in quotes:

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

― William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"

“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful — be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency."

― William S. Burroughs


English Baby Names Meaning:

In English Baby Names the meaning of the name William is: Resolute protector; will. For a long time after the Norman conquest in A.D. 1066 many English boys were given some form of William the Conquer's name. The firstborn son of Prince Charles is named William.

French Baby Names Meaning:

In French Baby Names the meaning of the name William is: Determined protector.

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