Other Scripts: Αγαθη (Ancient Greek)
Pronounced: AG-ə-thə (English)
Rating: 90% based on 2 votesLatinized form of the Greek name Αγαθη (Agathe), derived from Greek αγαθος (agathos) meaning "good". Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.AGNES
Other Scripts: ‘Αγνη (Ancient Greek)
Pronounced: AG-nəs (English), AHK-nes (German), AHKH-nəs (Dutch), AHNG-nes (Swedish)
Rating: 77% based on 3 votesLatinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne), derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos) meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus "lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England in the Middle Ages.ALEXIS
Pronounced: ah-LEK-sis (German), al-ek-SEE (French), ə-LEK-sis (English)
Rating: 57% based on 3 votesFrom the Greek name Αλεξις (Alexis), which meant "helper" or "defender", derived from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Αλεξιος or Alexius, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.ANNE (1)
Pronounced: AHN (French), AN (English), AN-ne (Danish), AHN-ne (Finnish), AH-nə (German), AHN-nə (Dutch)
Rating: 50% based on 3 votesFrench form of ANNA. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann. The name was borne by a 17th-century English queen and also by the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (the mother of Queen Elizabeth I), who was eventually beheaded in the Tower of London. This is also the name of the heroine in 'Anne of Green Gables' (1908) by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery.CAROLINE
Pronounced: ka-ro-LEEN (French), KER-ə-lien (English), KER-ə-lin (English), KAR-ə-lien (English), KAR-ə-lin (English)
Rating: 77% based on 3 votesFrench feminine form of CAROLUS.CATHERINE
Pronounced: ka-tə-REEN (French), ka-TREEN (French), KATH-ə-rin (English), KATH-rin (English)
Rating: 90% based on 2 votesFrench form of KATHERINE, and also a common English variant.EDGAR
Pronounced: ED-gər (English), ed-GAHR (French)
Rating: 50% based on 2 votesDerived from the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and gar "spear". This was the name of a 10th-century English king, Edgar the Peaceful. The name did not survive long after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 18th century, in part due to a character by this name in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Bride of Lammermoor' (1819), which tells of the tragic love between Edgar Ravenswood and Lucy Ashton. Famous bearers include author and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950).EDWIN
Pronounced: ED-win (English), ED-win (Dutch), ED-vin (Dutch)
Rating: 50% based on 2 votesMeans "rich friend" from the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and wine "friend". This was the name of a 7th-century Northumbrian king, regarded as a saint. After the Norman conquest the name was not popular, but it was eventually revived in the 19th century. A notable bearer was the astronaut Edwin Aldrin (1930-), also known as Buzz, the second man to walk on the moon.ELIZABETH
Pronounced: i-LIZ-ə-bəth (English)
Rating: 97% based on 3 votesFrom Ελισαβετ (Elisabet), the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva') meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist.
Among Christians, this name was originally more common in Eastern Europe. It was borne in the 12th century by Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, a daughter of King Andrew II who used her wealth to help the poor. In medieval England it was occasionally used in honour of the saint, though the form Isabel (from Occitan and Spanish) was more common. It has been very popular in England since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. It has also been borne (in various spellings) by many other European royals, including a ruling empress of Russia in the 18th century. Famous modern bearers include the British queen Elizabeth II (1926-) and actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011).EMILY
Rating: 60% based on 2 votesEnglish feminine form of Aemilius (see EMIL). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily in English, even though Amelia is an unrelated name.
Famous bearers include the British author Emily Brontë (1818-1848), who wrote 'Wuthering Heights', and the American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).EMMA
Pronounced: EM-ə (English), EM-mah (Finnish), E-mah (German)
Rating: 80% based on 3 votesOriginally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen meaning "whole" or "universal". It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of king Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of king Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma.
After the Norman conquest this name became common in England. It was revived in the 18th century, perhaps in part due to Matthew Prior's poem 'Henry and Emma' (1709). It was also used by Jane Austen for the central character, the matchmaker Emma Woodhouse, in her novel 'Emma' (1816).EVE
Other Scripts: חַוָּה (Ancient Hebrew)
Pronounced: EEV (English), EV (French)
Rating: 30% based on 2 votesFrom the Hebrew name חַוָּה (Chawwah), which was derived from the Hebrew word חוה (chawah) "to breathe" or the related word חיה (chayah) "to live". According to the Old Testament Book of Genesis, Eve and Adam were the first humans. God created her from one of Adam's ribs to be his companion. At the urging of a serpent she ate the forbidden fruit and shared some with Adam, causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Despite this potentially negative association, the name was occasionally used by Christians during the Middle Ages. In the English-speaking world both Eve and the Latin form Eva were revived in the 19th century.FELICITY
Rating: 17% based on 3 votesFrom the English word felicity meaning "happiness", which ultimately derives from Latin felicitas "good luck". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans around the 17th century. It can sometimes be used as an English form of the Latin name FELICITAS. This name was revived in the late 1990s after the appearance of the television series 'Felicity'.FREDERICK
Pronounced: FRED-ə-rik, FRED-rik
Personal note: FRED-ə-rik
Rating: 80% based on 3 votesEnglish form of a Germanic name meaning "peaceful ruler", derived from frid "peace" and ric "ruler, power". This name has long been common in continental Germanic-speaking regions, being borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, and Prussia. Notables among these rulers include the 12th-century Holy Roman Emperor and crusader Frederick I Barbarossa, the 13th-century emperor and patron of the arts Frederick II, and the 18th-century Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great.
The Normans brought the name to England in the 11th century but it quickly died out. It was reintroduced by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century. A famous bearer was Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), an American ex-slave who became a leading advocate of abolition.GREGORY
Rating: 47% based on 3 votesEnglish form of Latin Gregorius, which was from the Late Greek name Γρηγοριος (Gregorios), derived from γρηγορος (gregoros) meaning "watchful, alert". This name was popular among early Christians, being borne by a number of important saints including Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (3rd century), Saint Gregory the Illuminator (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nyssa (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (4th century), and Saint Gregory of Tours (6th century). It was also borne by the 6th-century pope Saint Gregory I the Great, a reformer and Doctor of the Church, as well as 15 subsequent popes.
Due to the renown of the saints by this name, Gregory (in various spellings) has remained common in the Christian world through the Middle Ages and to the present day. It has been used in England since the 12th century. A famous bearer from the modern era was American actor Gregory Peck (1916-2003).ISABEL
Pronounced: ee-sah-BEL (Spanish), IZ-ə-bel (English), ee-za-BEL (French), ee-zah-BEL (German)
Rating: 85% based on 2 votesMedieval Occitan form of ELIZABETH. It spread throughout Spain, Portugal and France, becoming common among the royalty by the 12th century. It grew popular in England in the 13th century after Isabella of Angoulême married the English king John, and it was subsequently bolstered when Isabella of France married Edward II the following century.
This is the usual form of the name Elizabeth in Spain and Portugal, though elsewhere it is considered a parallel name, such as in France where it is used alongside Élisabeth. The name was borne by two Spanish ruling queens, including Isabel of Castile, who sponsored the explorations of Christopher Columbus.ISABELLA
Pronounced: ee-zah-BEL-lah (Italian), iz-ə-BEL-ə (English)
Rating: 60% based on 3 votesLatinate form of ISABEL. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel).JAMESEnglish form of the Late Latin name Iacomus which was derived from Ιακωβος (Iakobos), the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov (see JACOB). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus.
Since the 13th century this name has been used in England, though it became more common in Scotland where it was borne by several kings. In the 17th century the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne, becoming the first ruler of all Britain, and the name grew much more popular. Famous bearers include the English explorer Captain James Cook (1728-1779), the Scottish inventor James Watt (1736-1819), and the Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941). This name has also been borne by six American presidents. A notable fictional bearer is the British spy James Bond, created by author Ian Fleming.JANE
Rating: 30% based on 3 votesMedieval English form of Jehanne, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes (see JOHN). This became the most common feminine form of John in the 17th century, surpassing Joan.
Famous bearers include the uncrowned English queen Lady Jane Grey (1536-1554), who ruled for only 9 days, the British novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817), who wrote 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Pride and Prejudice', and the British primatologist Jane Goodall (1934-). This is also the name of the central character in Charlotte Brontë's novel 'Jane Eyre' (1847), which tells of her sad childhood and her relationship with Edward Rochester.JOAN (1)
Rating: 40% based on 3 votesMedieval English form of Johanne, an Old French form of Iohanna (see JOANNA). This was the usual English feminine form of John in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane in the 17th century.
This name (in various spellings) has been common among European royalty, being borne by ruling queens of Naples, Navarre and Castile. Another famous bearer was Joan of Arc, a patron saint of France (where she is known as Jeanne d'Arc). She was a 15th-century peasant girl who, after claiming she heard messages from God, was given leadership of the French army. She defeated the English in the battle of Orléans but was eventually captured and burned at the stake.
Other notable bearers include the actress Joan Crawford (1904-1977) and the comedian Joan Rivers (1933-2014), both Americans.JOHNEnglish form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan or Jehohanan in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter and James (his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.
This name was initially more common among Eastern Christians in the Byzantine Empire, but it flourished in Western Europe after the First Crusade. In England it became extremely popular: during the later Middle Ages it was given to approximately a fifth of all English boys.
The name (in various spellings) has been borne by 21 popes and eight Byzantine emperors, as well as rulers of England, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary. It was also borne by the poet John Milton (1608-1674), philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), American founding father and president John Adams (1735-1826), and poet John Keats (1795-1821). Famous bearers of the 20th century include author John Steinbeck (1902-1968), assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), and musician John Lennon (1940-1980).JOSEPH
Other Scripts: יוֹסֵף (Ancient Hebrew)
Pronounced: JO-səf (English), zho-ZEF (French), YO-zef (German)
Rating: 57% based on 3 votesFrom Ioseph, the Latin form of Greek Ιωσηφ (Ioseph), which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef) meaning "he will add". In the Old Testament Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob and the first with his wife Rachel. Because he was the favourite of his father, his older brothers sent him to Egypt and told their father that he had died. In Egypt, Joseph became an advisor to the pharaoh, and was eventually reconciled with his brothers when they came to Egypt during a famine. This name also occurs in the New Testament, belonging to Saint Joseph the husband of Mary, and to Joseph of Arimathea.
In the Middle Ages, Joseph was a common Jewish name, being less frequent among Christians. In the late Middle Ages Saint Joseph became more highly revered, and the name became popular in Spain and Italy. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation. This name was borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Portugal. Other notable bearers include Polish-British author Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) and the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (1878-1953).JULIA
Pronounced: JOO-lee-ə (English), YOO-lee-ah (German, Swedish, Danish, Finnish), HOO-lyah (Spanish), YUWL-yah (Polish), YOO-lee-yah (Russian), YOO:-lee-ah (Ancient Roman)
Rating: 60% based on 3 votesFeminine form of the Roman family name JULIUS. Among the notable women from this family were Julia Augusta (also known as Livia Drusilla), the wife of Emperor Augustus, and Julia the Elder, the daughter of Augustus and the wife of Tiberius. A person by this name has a brief mention in the New Testament. It was also borne by a few early saints and martyrs, including the patron saint of Corsica. Additionally, Shakespeare used it in his comedy 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594).
It has been common as a given name in the English-speaking world only since the 18th century. A famous modern bearer is American actress Julia Roberts (1967-).KATHERINE
Pronounced: KATH-ə-rin, KATH-rin
Rating: 90% based on 3 votesFrom the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine). The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine), which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros) "each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia) "torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos) "pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina to Katharina to reflect this.
The name was borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel. The saint was initially venerated in Syria, and returning crusaders introduced the name to Western Europe. It has been common in England since the 12th century in many different spellings, with Katherine and Catherine becoming standard in the later Middle Ages.
Famous bearers of the name include Catherine of Siena, a 14th-century mystic, and Catherine de' Medici, a 16th-century French queen. It was also borne by three of Henry VIII's wives, including Katherine of Aragon, and by two empresses of Russia, including Catherine the Great.MARY
Pronounced: MER-ee (English), MAR-ee (English)
Rating: 83% based on 3 votesUsual English form of Maria, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam) and Μαρια (Maria) - the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam), a name borne by the sister of Moses in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love".
This is the name of several New Testament characters, most importantly Mary the mother of Jesus. According to the gospels, Jesus was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit while she remained a virgin. This name was also borne by Mary Magdalene, a woman cured of demons by Jesus. She became one of his followers and later witnessed his crucifixion and resurrection.
Due to the Virgin Mary this name has been very popular in the Christian world, though at certain times in some cultures it has been considered too holy for everyday use. In England it has been used since the 12th century, and it has been among the most common feminine names since the 16th century. The Latinized form Maria is also used in English as well as in several other languages.
This name has been borne by two queens of England, as well as a Queen of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots. Another notable bearer was Mary Shelley (1797-1851), the author of 'Frankenstein'. A famous fictional character by this name is Mary Poppins from the children's books by P. L. Travers, first published in 1934.MATILDA
Pronounced: mə-TIL-də (English), MAH-teel-dah (Finnish)
Rating: 83% based on 3 votesFrom the Germanic name Mahthildis meaning "strength in battle", from the elements maht "might, strength" and hild "battle". Saint Matilda was the wife of the 10th-century German king Henry I the Fowler. The name was common in many branches of European royalty in the Middle Ages. It was brought to England by the Normans, being borne by the wife of William the Conqueror himself. Another notable royal by this name was a 12th-century daughter of Henry I of England, known as the Empress Matilda because of her first marriage to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. She later invaded England, laying the foundations for the reign of her son Henry II.
The name was popular until the 15th century in England, usually in the vernacular form Maud. Both forms were revived by the 19th century. This name appears in the popular Australian folk song 'Waltzing Matilda', written in 1895.MINNA
Pronounced: MI-nah (German), MEEN-nah (Finnish)
Personal note: From Old High German minna "love" (or Old Norse minni "memory")
Rating: 50% based on 2 votesOLIVER
Other Scripts: Оливер (Serbian, Macedonian)
Pronounced: AHL-ə-vər (English), AW-lee-ver (German), O-lee-ver (Finnish)
Rating: 73% based on 3 votesFrom Olivier, a Norman French form of a Germanic name such as ALFHER or an Old Norse name such as Áleifr (see OLAF). The spelling was altered by association with Latin oliva "olive tree". In the Middle Ages the name became well-known in Western Europe because of the French epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which Olivier was a friend and advisor of the hero Roland.
In England Oliver was a common medieval name, however it became rare after the 17th century because of the military commander Oliver Cromwell, who ruled the country following the civil war. The name was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to the title character in Charles Dickens' novel 'Oliver Twist' (1838), which was about a poor orphan living on the streets of London.OLIVIA
Pronounced: ə-LIV-ee-ə (English), o-LEE-vyah (Italian, Spanish), o-LEE-vee-ah (German), O-lee-vee-ah (Finnish)
Rating: 30% based on 3 votesThis name was first used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy 'Twelfth Night' (1602). Shakespeare may have based it on OLIVER or OLIVA, or perhaps directly on the Latin word oliva meaning "olive". In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.
The name has been used in the English-speaking world since the 18th century, though it did not become overly popular until the last half of the 20th century. Its rise in popularity in America was precipitated by a character on the 1970s television series 'The Waltons'.QUENTIN
Pronounced: kawn-TEN (French), KWEN-tin (English)
Rating: 20% based on 2 votesFrench form of the Roman name QUINTINUS. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a missionary who was martyred in Gaul. The Normans introduced this name to England. In America it was brought to public attention by president Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), who was killed in World War I.QUINTIN
Rating: 27% based on 3 votesVariant of QUENTIN.ROSEOriginally a Norman form of a Germanic name, which was composed of the elements hrod "fame" and heid "kind, sort, type". The Normans introduced it to England in the forms Roese and Rohese. From an early date it was associated with the word for the fragrant flower rose (derived from Latin rosa). When the name was revived in the 19th century, it was probably with the flower in mind.SARAH
Pronounced: SER-ə (English), SAR-ə (English), ZAH-rah (German)
Rating: 53% based on 3 votesMeans "lady, princess, noblewoman" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became the pregnant with Isaac at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15).
In England, Sarah came into use after the Protestant Reformation. A notable bearer was Sarah Churchill (1660-1744), an influential British duchess and a close friend of Queen Anne.SIBYL
Rating: 90% based on 2 votesFrom Greek Σιβυλλα (Sibylla), meaning "prophetess, sibyl". In Greek and Roman legend the sibyls were ten female prophets who practiced at different holy sites in the ancient world. In later Christian theology, the sibyls were thought to have divine knowledge and were revered in much the same way as the Old Testament prophets. Because of this, the name came into general use in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was spelled both Sibyl and Sybil. It became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps helped by Benjamin Disraeli's novel 'Sybil' (1845).STELLAMeans "star" in Latin. This name was created by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney for the subject of his collection of sonnets 'Astrophel and Stella'. It was not commonly used as a given name until the 19th century. It appears in Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1947), belonging to the sister of Blanche DuBois and the wife of Stanley Kowalski.SUSAN
Rating: 50% based on 3 votesEnglish variant of SUSANNA. This has been most common spelling since the 18th century. A notable bearer was the American feminist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).SYLVIA
Pronounced: SIL-vee-ə (English), SUYL-vee-ah (Finnish)
Rating: 0% based on 2 votesVariant of SILVIA. This has been the most common English spelling since the 19th century.VERITY
Usage: English (Archaic)
Rating: 3% based on 3 votesFrom the English word meaning "verity, truth". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.VICTORIA
Pronounced: vik-TAWR-ee-ə (English), vik-TO-ree-ah (German)
Rating: 57% based on 3 votesMeans "victory" in Latin, being borne by the Roman goddess of victory. It is also a feminine form of VICTORIUS. This name was borne by a 4th-century saint and martyr from North Africa.
Though in use elsewhere in Europe, the name was very rare in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when Queen Victoria began her long rule of Britain. She was named after her mother, who was of German royalty. Many geographic areas are named after the queen, including an Australian state and a Canadian city.VINCENT
Pronounced: VIN-sənt (English), ven-SAWN (French)
Rating: 63% based on 3 votesFrom the Roman name Vincentius, which was from Latin vincere "to conquer". This name was popular among early Christians, and it was borne by many saints. As an English name, Vincent has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 19th century. Famous bearers include the French priest Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) and the post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).VIVIAN
Pronounced: VIV-ee-ən (English)
Rating: 60% based on 3 votesFrom the Latin name Vivianus which was derived from Latin vivus "alive". Saint Vivian was a French bishop who provided protection during the Visigoth invasion of the 5th century. It has been occasionally used as an English (masculine) name since the Middle Ages. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name, in which case it is either an Anglicized form of BÉBINN or a variant of VIVIEN (2).WILLIAM
Pronounced: WIL-ee-əm, WIL-yəm
Rating: 47% based on 3 votesFrom the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil "will, desire" and helm "helmet, protection". Saint William of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England in the 11th century. It was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia.
Other famous bearers include William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero, and William Tell, a legendary 14th-century Swiss hero. In the literary world it was borne by dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet William Blake (1757-1827), poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), author William Faulkner (1897-1962), and author William S. Burroughs (1914-1997).