William L. Donohue
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William is a
male Male (Mars symbol, symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexual reproduction, repro ...
given name of Germanic origin.Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges, ''Oxford Dictionary of First Names'',
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of the University of Oxford. It is the largest university press in the world, and its printing history dates back to the 1480s. Having been officially granted the legal right to print books ...
, 2nd edition, , p. 276.
It became very popular in the
English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic people ...
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 thousands of Normans, Norman, Duchy of Brittany, Breton, County of Flanders, Flemish, and Kingdom of France, French troops, ...
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 ...
, Wills,
Willy Willy or Willie is a masculine, male given name, often a diminutive form of William (given name), William or Wilhelm (name), Wilhelm, and occasionally a nickname. It may refer to: People Given name or nickname * Willie Aames (born 1960), American ...
,
Willie Willy or Willie is a masculine, male given name, often a diminutive form of William or Wilhelm, and occasionally a nickname. It may refer to: People Given name or nickname * Willie Aames (born 1960), American actor, television director, and sc ...
, Bill, and Billy. A common
Irish Irish may refer to: Common meanings * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe ...
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 A root (or root word) is the core of a word that is irreducible into more meaningful elements. In morphology, a root is a morphologically simple unit which can be left bare or to which a prefix or a suffix In li ...
include Wull,
Willie Willy or Willie is a masculine, male given name, often a diminutive form of William or Wilhelm, and occasionally a nickname. It may refer to: People Given name or nickname * Willie Aames (born 1960), American actor, television director, and sc ...
or Wullie (as in
Oor Wullie ''Oor Wullie'' ( en, Our Willie) is a Scottish comic strip published in the D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd, D.C. Thomson newspaper ''The Sunday Post''. It features a character called Wullie; Wullie is the familiar Scots language, Scots nickname for boy ...
or the play ''Douglas''). Female forms are
Willa Willa is a feminine given name. Notable people and characters with the name include: * Willa or Guilla of Provence (died before 924), early medieval Frankish queen * Willa of Tuscany (died 970), queen consort of Berengar II of Italy * Willa Brow ...
,
Willemina Willemina 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: * Will ...
, Wilma and Wilhelmina.


Etymology

William is related to the given name ''Wilhelm'' (cf.
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic languages, Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. Proto-Germanic eventually developed from ...
ᚹᛁᛚᛃᚨᚺᛖᛚᛗᚨᛉ, ''*Wiljahelmaz'' > German '' Wilhelm'' and
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian, is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and t ...
ᚢᛁᛚᛋᛅᚼᛅᛚᛘᛅᛋ, ''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 The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals in Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the ...
refers to
William the Conqueror William I; ang, WillelmI (Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33– 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first House of Normandy, Norman List of English monarchs#House of Norman ...
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". The form ''William'' is identified as typical of the
Old Norman Old Norman, also called Old Northern French or Old Norman French ( fro, Ancien Normant, nrf, Ancien Normaund), was one of many varieties of the ''langues d'oïl'' native to northern France. It was spoken throughout the region of what is now calle ...
form ''Williame, Willame'', because first, the English language should have retained ''(h)elm'' (see common words ''helm, helmet'', in French '' heaume''), 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
triphthong In phonetics, a triphthong (, ) (from Ancient Greek, Greek τρίφθογγος, "triphthongos", literally "with three sounds," or "with three tones") is a syllable, monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement of the arti ...
ation of ''-elm'' (early Gallo-Romance form WILLELMU) into + in Old Norman-French, quite similar in Old Central French + Then, the
triphthong In phonetics, a triphthong (, ) (from Ancient Greek, Greek τρίφθογγος, "triphthongos", literally "with three sounds," or "with three tones") is a syllable, monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement of the arti ...
''-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 Wace ( 1110 – after 1174), sometimes referred to as Robert Wace, was a Medieval In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-cl ...
's ''
Roman de Rou ''Roman de Rou'' is a verse chronicle by Wace in Norman language, Norman covering the history of the Duchy of Normandy, Dukes of Normandy from the time of Rollo of Normandy to the battle of Tinchebray in 1106. It is a national epic of Normandy. ...
''. 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 Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; german: Karl der Große; 2 April 747 – 28 January 814), a member of the Carolingian dynasty, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and the first Holy ...
's cousin
William of Gellone William of Gellone ( 755 – 28 May 812 or 814), the medieval William of Orange, was the second Duke of Toulouse from 790 until 811. In 804, he founded the abbey of Gellone. He was canonized a saint in 1066 by Pope Alexander II.
, 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 Anglo-Norman, also known as Anglo-Norman French ( nrf, Anglo-Normaund) (Standard French, French: ), was a dialect of Old Norman French that was used in Kingdom of England, England and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Great Britain and Ireland du ...
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 name Robert is an ancient Germanic given name, from Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic languages, Germanic ...
(the English cognate was Hrēodbeorht, which by regular sound changes would have developed into something along the lines of "Reedbart"),
Richard Richard is a male given name. It originates, via Old French, from Frankish language, Old Frankish and is a Compound (linguistics), compound of the words descending from Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germanic ''*rīk-'' 'ruler, leader, king' an ...
,
Roger Roger is a given name A given name (also known as a forename or first name) is the part of a personal name quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a middle name as well, and differentiates that person from the other members ...
(the English cognate was Hroðgar), Henry (all of Germanic origin and may have been transmitted through the Normans' use of
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French: ) was the language spoken in most of the northern half of France from approximately the 8th to the 14th centuries. Rather than a unified language, Old French was a linkage of Romance dialects, mutually intel ...
). The name Wilkin/Wilkins is also of medieval origin, taken from the shortened version of William (Will) with the suffix "kin" added.


Variants

*Wilem, Awilemam ( Koromfe) *Weelum ( Scots) *Willum ( Scots) *Viliamu ( Samoan) *Viliami ( Tongan) *Whiriyamu ( Karanga) *Whiliyamu (
Ndebele Ndebele may refer to: *Southern Ndebele people, located in South Africa *Northern Ndebele people, located in Zimbabwe and Botswana Languages *Southern Ndebele language, the language of the South Ndebele *Northern Ndebele language, the language o ...
) *Wilhelm ( German, Polish, Swedish) *Willem, Wilhelmus ( Dutch, Frisian,
Low German : : : : : (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic , fam3 = West Germanic , fam4 = North Sea Germanic , ancestor = Old Saxon Old Saxon, also known as ...
) *Willem, Wilhelm (
Afrikaans Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language that evolved in the Dutch Cape Colony from the Dutch vernacular of Holland proper (i.e., the Hollandic dialect) used by Dutch, French, and German settlers and their slaves. Afrikaans gradually b ...
) * Wiremu ( Maori) *Willelm (
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabita ...
) *Williama ( Hawaiian) *Wellëm (
Luxembourgish Luxembourgish ( ; also ''Luxemburgish'', ''Luxembourgian'', ''Letzebu(e)rgesch''; Luxembourgish: ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg. About 400,000 people speak Luxembourgish worldwide. ...
) *Walaam (
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Arm ...
) *Wiliyom, Wiliyem ( Bengali) *Vĩnh Liêm, Vĩnh Lâm ( Vietnamese) *Billem ( Toba Batak) *Cuglierme ( Neapolitan) *Golem, Gulielm, Ylli, Ylmer ( Albanian) *Gilen, Guilen ( Basque) *Gulielmus, Vilhelmus, Willelmus, Gullelmus, Gullielmus, Villelmus (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
) *Guglielmo ( Italian) *Guillaume ( French) *Guildhelm (
Old Dutch In linguistics, Old Dutch (Dutch: Oudnederlands) or Old Low Franconian (Dutch: Oudnederfrankisch) is the set of Franconian languages, Franconian dialects (i.e. dialects that evolved from Frankish language, Frankish) spoken in the Low Countries ...
) *Guilhem (
Occitan Occitan may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the Occitania territory in parts of France, Italy, Monaco and Spain. * Something of, from, or related to the Occitania administrative region of France. * Occitan language, spoken in parts ...
) *Guillem, Guim ( Catalan) *Guillén ( Aragonese) *
Guillermo Guillermo () is the Spanish language, Spanish form of the male given name William (name), William. The name is also commonly shortened to 'Guille' or, in Latin America, to nickname 'Memo'. People *Guillermo Amor (born 1967), Spanish football manage ...
(
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
) *
Guilherme Guilherme is a Portuguese language, Portuguese given name, equivalent to William (name), William in English. The feminine form of this name is Guilhermina. Diminutive forms include Guilhermino. Vilma (Portuguese form of Wilma (given name), Wilma) ...
( Portuguese) *Guillerme ( Galician) *Gwilym ( Welsh) *Gwilherm ( Breton) *Gugghiermu ( Sicilian) *Gllâome (Modern
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans, a people partly descended from Norse Vikings who settled in the territory of Normandy in France in the 10th and 11th centuries ** People or things connected with the Norm ...
) *Uilliam (
Irish Irish may refer to: Common meanings * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe ...
) *
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 Irish may refer to: Common meanings * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe ...
) *Illiam (
Manx Gaelic Manx ( or , pronounced or ), also known as Manx Gaelic, is a Gaelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic ...
) * Uilleam (
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family) native to the Gaels of Scotland. As a Goid ...
) *وِلْيَم – William (
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...
) *Уилиам – Uiliam ( Bulgarian) *װֶעלװֶעל – /ˈvelvel/ (
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashke ...
) *Villem, Villu ( Estonian) *Вильгельм, Уильям – Vil'gel'm, Uil'yam ( Russian) *Вільгельм, Вільям – Vil'hel'm, Vil'yam ( Ukrainian) *Уільям, Вільям – Uiĺjam, Viĺjam ( Belarusian) * VillemEstonian * Vilhelm (
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivisi ...
, Norwegian,
Romanian Romanian may refer to: *anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Romania **Romanians, an ethnic group **Romanian language, a Romance language ***Romanian dialects, variants of the Romanian language **Romanian cuisine, traditional ...
, Swedish) *Vilhelmo (
Esperanto Esperanto ( or ) is the world's most widely spoken Constructed language, constructed international auxiliary language. Created by the Warsaw-based ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, it was intended to be a universal second language for in ...
) * Vilhelms ( Latvian) *Viliam ( Slovak) *Viljem ( Slovene) *ויליאם – /ˈviljam/ (older propronunciation), /ˈwiljam/ (contemporary) (
Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-surviving descendants, ...
) *Vilim ( Croatian) *Вилим ( Serbian) *Vilém (
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic, a country in Europe ** Czech language ** Czechs, the people of the area ** Czech culture ** Czech cuisine * One of three mythical brothers, Lech, Czech, and Rus' Places *Czech, ...
) *Vilmos ( Hungarian) *Viljams, Vilhelms, Vilis ( Latvian) *Vilius, Viliumas, Vilhelmas ( Lithuanian) *Viljami, Ville, Vilho, Viljo ( Finnish) *Vilhjálmur ( Icelandic) *Vilhjálmur, Viljormur ( Faroese) *Vilhjálmr (
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian, is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and t ...
) *Vilko ( Croatian) *Vilyam, Vilyım ( Turkish) *Vėljams ( Samogitian) *Γουλιέλμος (Wouliélmos) (
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
) *ܘܠܝܡ (Wil-yam) (
Assyrian Assyrian may refer to: * Assyrian people Assyrians are an Indigenous peoples, indigenous ethnic group native to Assyrian homeland, Assyria in Western Asia, West Asia. Modern Assyrians Assyrian continuity, descend from their Assyria, ancient cou ...
) *Գուլիելմոս (Goulielmós) ( Armenian)


People named William


See also

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


References

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