When it comes to
classic names, you really can’t beat William. And while it’s been around since, like, forever, it’s one of those few names that can be timeless and trendy at the same time. If you like the name (but don’t want to have a whole lot of Williams in your kiddo’s preschool), you’ll probably want to know about these baby names like William. Here’s The Origin, History, And Meaning Of The Name William
While you might think that William is an English name, it’s actually got deep roots in Old Germanic culture. The name derives from
wil, which means desire or, you know, will, and helm, which can be an abbreviation of the word helmet, or some other symbol of protection. Is it no wonder, then, that the name William means “resolute protector” or “strong-willed warrior”? Methinks not. The name was popular in Germany until it arrived on the shores of England via William the Conqueror back in 1066. Ironically enough, William the Conqueror was not from Germany, but the Duke of Normandy, in France.
So if you like baby names like William but want something slightly different, let’s see if you “will” or won’t you go with any of these baby names that would be perfect for the cutie who will most definitely conquer your heart.
Back in the day, parents never would have entertained the idea of giving their baby a nickname. But today’s parents are finding that nicknames are sometimes cooler than the original name. And that’s when Willie enters the chat. Obviously it’s an abbreviation of William, but if you’re not looking to have so many letters, Willie is short and sweet.
Maybe you like the sound of the letter W, but think that William is too common. Why not consider Wesley? It’s of English origin and means “western meadow.” It’s also the name of the protagonist in
Princess Bride, which is why if you want to name your baby Wesley, all we can say is, “As you wish.” 3 Alexander
A classic a name as they come, Alexander means “defender of men.” It is of Greek origin, and is almost always a boy’s name (Alexandra is the name often used for girls). And Alexander has a bunch of adorable nicknames, like Alex, Xander, and, interestingly enough, Sasha (based on the X sound in the name).
Another W name, Weston is a boy’s name of English origin. It means “from the western town,” and has the dubious distinction of being one of those location-inspired names. Although it’s traditionally been a boy’s name, it can be gender neutral, too.
Want to add some French flair to your child’s name? Well, William in French is Guillaume. Even cuter is that the nickname for Guillaume is Guy, but don’t be fooled. Guy is not pronounced like the American version of the word, which would mean “a man.” Guy in French is pronounced “Ghee.” How chic!
6 Will kate_sept2004/E+/Getty Images
Who says that you have to give your child a full first name? Although Will is a derivative of William, you can always go bold and just name your child Will. Who knows, maybe they’ll have a strong, you know, will.
If there are a lot of Liam’s in your older child’s Pre-K class, there’s a good reason why.
Liam is the most popular baby boy name, according to the Social Security Administration. And Liam, coincidentally, is the Irish form of William (and it’s also the last four letters of William, too). 8 Willem
A fresh take on the name William, Willem is also becoming increasingly popular. Nameberry.com reported that
Willem is a common name in Holland. The Dutch variation gives Willem a more European vibe. 9 Willa
Let’s say that you love the name William — but you’re having a girl. Of course, you could always give your gal a boy’s name… or you could keep most of the letters from William and shorten it to Willa, a beautiful girl’s name.
When William feels too common, you can always add some
sazon to the name and look for versions in other languages. Take Guillermo, for example, which is a Spanish-language version of William, Scary Mommy cited. 11 James
While it's not a derivative of William, James is also an equally classic (and popular) boy’s name. It
ranks as the 6, the SSA reported. And if you have your heart set on William, you could always use James as a middle name, since it’s short and sweet. th most popular boys’ name 12 Benjamin South_agency/E+/Getty Images Benjamin can be a great alternative to William. Meaning “the son of the right hand” as The Bump reported, Benjamin has the same number of syllables as William — and sort of sounds like it, too. Plus, you have a plethora of plucky nicknames to choose from, like Ben, Benjie, and Benny. 13 Wilhelmina
Again, if it’s all pretty in pink coming your way, you can find ways to work William into a girl’s name. Enter
Wilhelmina, a super strong girly name of Germanic origin, Nameberry reported. Although it’s a pretty name, it’s also pretty uncommon, which means that if you give your baby girl this name, she’ll probably be the only one in daycare with it. 14 Wyatt
Wyatt is one of those names that was once popular and is slowly seeing a resurgence. With its
meaning of “war strength,” according to TheBump.com, it ranks within the top 50 baby boy names. Even though Wyatt has often been associated with strong male figures (Wyatt Earp, anyone?), Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis named their daughter Wyatt as well. 15 Weston If you want to give your child a name beginning with W, Weston just might work. It’s not a crazy popular name (it ranked #180 on BabyCenter.com), and has its roots in England. It means “Western town,” and if you remove a few letters from both words, you can see how Weston is actually a cool contraction of sorts. 16 Henry
Once a popular name (like back in the 1880s), Henry has come back hard to become one of the trendiest names today. In fact,
the name Henry has seen a steady rise since the year 2000 (when it ranked 126) to 2019, when it snatched the 12 th spot, the SSA.gov reported. And just like William, it’s a classic name that doesn’t go out of style. 17 Matthew
At the beginning of the millennium,
Matthew was . It held the number three spot for two years in a row, and has slowly become slightly less popular over the years (it ranked 23 the name for baby boys rd in 2019). But it’s still a traditional name, like William, and has that W sound if that’s what you’re after. 18 Andrew
Let’s say that you like a name that’s synonymous with strength (as William does). Well, how about Andrew? With its origins in Greece,
Andrew means “manly”, according to Babynames.com. It’s also a Biblical name, since Andrew was one of Christ’s apostles. 19 Ethan Fiordaliso/Moment/Getty Images
Making the top ten of most popular baby boy names, Ethan is a solid pick if you’re looking for a name that embodies strength. In fact,
it literally means “strong, firm,” according to Nameberry.com. It’s a classic Hebrew name that has deep ties to the Old Testament. 20 Thomas
Toying with names that are similar to William?
You might want to try out Thomas. It means “twin”, TheBump.com reported, and it has Aramaic origins. It’s a distinguished name that can be found in popular culture as well as back to Biblical times, as Thomas was one of the 12 apostles, too.
There’s no denying that William is a wonderful name. But if you want to try something similar yet different, you can pick any of the above names that will be perfect for your baby.
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This article was originally published on
Jan. 12, 2021