William is a popular given name of an old Germanic
[Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges, ''Oxford Dictionary of First Names'', Oxford University Press, 2nd edition, , p. 276.]
It became very popular in the English language
after the Norman conquest of England
[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, Willy, Willie, Bill, and Billy. A common Irish form is Liam. Scottish diminutives include Wull, Willie or Wullie (see Oor Wullie or Douglas for example). Female forms are Willa, Willemina, Willamette, Wilma and Wilhelmina.
William is related to the given name ''Wilhelm'' (cf. Proto-Germanic ''*Wiljahelmaz'' > German ''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 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 Old Norman form ''Williame, Willame'', because first, the English language should have retained ''(h)elm'' (see common words ''helm, helmet''), second, ''-iaume'' aʷm(typical of Popular French, see Guillaume) turned to ''-iame'' am(typical of some Norman and Picard dialects) > English ''-iam''. Historically, there was first a triphthongation of ''-elm'' (early Gallo-Romance form WILLELMU) into aʷ+ in Old Norman-French, quite similar in Old Central French aʷ+ 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 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-'' iis a characteristic trait of the Northern French dialects, but the pronunciation changed in Norman from ito iin the 12th century (cf. the Norman surnames ''Villon'' and ''Villamaux'' "little William"), unlike the Central French and Southern Norman that turned the Germanic ''Wi-'' into ''Gui-'' wi> i 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.
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 Hrēodbeorht, which by regular sound changes would have developed into something along the lines of "Reedbart"), Richard, Roger (the English cognate was Hroðgar), 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
*Willian, Guilherme (Portuguese)
*Wilhelm (German, Polish, Swedish)
*Willem, Wilhelmus (Dutch, Frisian, Low German)
*Willem, Wilhelm (Afrikaans)
*Willelm (Old English)
*Wullie, Wully, Weelum, Willum (Scots)
*Wiliyom, Wiliyem (Bengali)
*Vĩnh Liêm, Vĩnh Lâm (Vietnamese)
*Billem (Toba Batak)
*Gilen, Guilen (Basque)
*Gulielmus, Vilhelmus, Willelmus, Gullelmus, Gullielmus, Villelmus (Latin)
*Guildhelm (Old Dutch)
*Guillem, Guim (Catalan)
*Gllâome (Modern Norman)
*Uilliam, Ulliam (Irish)
*Illiam (Manx Gaelic)
*Uilleam (Scottish Gaelic)
*Уилиам – Uiliam (Bulgarian)
*װֶעלװֶעל – /ˈvelvel/ (Yiddish)
*Villem, Villu (Estonian)
*Вильгельм, Уильям – Vil'gel'm, Uil'yam (Russian)
*Вільгельм, Вільям – Vil'hel'm, Vil'yam (Ukrainian)
*Уільям, Вільям – Uiĺjam, Viĺjam (Belarusian)
*Villem – Estonian
*Vilhelm (Danish, Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish)
*ויליאם – /ˈviljam/ (older propronunciation), /ˈwiljam/ (contemporary) (Hebrew)
*Viljams, Vilhelms, Vilis (Latvian)
*Vilius, Viliumas, Vilhelmas (Lithuanian)
*Viljami, Ville, Vilho, Viljo (Finnish)
*Vilhjálmur, Viljormur (Faroese)
*Vilhjálmr (Old Norse)
*Vilyam, Vilyım (Turkish)
*Γουλιέλμος (Wouliélmos) (Greek)
*ܘܠܝܡ (Wil-yam) (Assyrian)
*Գուլիելմոս (Goulielmós) (Armenian)
*Guiguille, Guigui (French language)
*Memo (Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica)
* Wim, Pim, Jelle (Dutch)
People named William
*King William (disambiguation)
*Saint William (disambiguation)
Category:English-language masculine given names
Category:English masculine given names
Category:German masculine given names