July 28, 2014 § 12 Comments
From the Germanic “Wilhelm”, meaning “will-helmet”. Which you probably could not have guessed was what “Wilhelm” meant. Yep. That is your shocked face.
VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Bil, Bill, Billie, Billy, Gillermo, Guglielmo, Guillaume, Guillem, Guillermo, Gwil, Gwilim, Gwillym, Gwilym, Illiam, Liam, Lyam, Pim, Ulick, Uilleag, Uilleam, Uilliam, Vila, Vilhelm, Vili, Viliam, Vilim, Viljem, Viljo, Ville, Villem, Vilmos, Wil, Wilhelm, Wilkie, Wilkin, Wilky, Willem, Williamon, Willie, Willis, Willy, Wim, etc. Not Billiam, though. Well, I mean, I guess Billiam. If you really, really want it so.
REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– William (called “Bill“, b. 1912), the sixth of the dozen Gilbreth children whose upbringing is related in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948) and Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
– William, a local boy Robin went to school with, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.
– William the Farrier, a blacksmith under Sir Peter’s employ in The Door in the Wall.
– William, one of Sir John and Lady Middleton’s children, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
– Mr. William Collins, the obsequious cousin/suitor, in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (written in 1797, published in 1813).
– William Coxe (or Cox), a “pert young lawyer” Emma briefly considers as a possible match for her beloved Harriet Smith, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
– William Taylor Creighton (called “Bill“; b. 1838), Jethro’s favorite older brother, “a big, silent man who was considered ‘peculiar’ in the neighborhood”, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
– William Dobbin, the plain yet generous soldier and friend who pines after Amelia in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
– Sir William Dobbin is the father of Capt. Dobbin in Vanity Fair.
– Sir William Howe, governor and military commander of the New England province, who is responsible for many of the parties and dances Sibyl attends in Tory society, in “Sibyl’s Slipper”, a story of the American Revolutionary War, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
– William Larkins, Mr. Knightley’s farm manager in Emma.
– Sir William Lucas, the kindly (if slightly foolish) country squire in Pride and Prejudice.
– William Wise, a woodworker under Sir Peter’s employ in The Door in the Wall.
– William Blake (1757-1827), English painter, poet, and printmaker.
– William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), American poet, journalist, and editor.
– William Congreve (1670-1729), English poet and playwright.
– William Douglas (c. 1672-1748) Scottish poet.
– William Ellis (c. 1700-1758), English farmer and agricultural writer.
– William Ellis (1794-1872), English missionary and author.
– William Faulkner (1897-1963), American writer and Nobel Prize laureate.
– William Gilbert (1544-1603), English physicist, natural philosopher, and writer.
– Sir William Schwenck (W.S.) Gilbert (1836-1911), English dramatist, librettist, and poet.
– William Hazlitt (1778-1830), English writer.
– William Kennedy (b. 1928), American writer and journalist.
– William (W.) Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), English playwright, novelist, and short story writer.
– William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English poet, playwright, and actor.
– William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), English novelist.
– William J. Whalen (1926-2008), American writer and educator.
– William Hale White (1831-1913), English civil servant, translator, and writer who published under the pen name “Mark Rutherford”.
– William Wordsworth (1770-1850), English poet.
– William Butler (W.B.) Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet and playwright.
– From the popular ballad “Black Ey’d Susan, or Sweet William’s Farewell“, by John Gay, first published in 1730: “‘O Susan, Susan, lovely dear, / My vows shall ever true remain; / Let me kiss off that falling tear, / We only part to meet again. / Change, as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be / The faithful compass that still points to thee. / ‘Believe not what the landsmen say, / Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind: / They’ll tell thee, sailors, when away, / In every port a mistress find. / Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so, / For thou art present wheresoe’er I go. / . . . ‘Though battle call me from thy arms, / Let not my pretty Susan mourn; / Though cannons roar, yet safe from harms, / William shall to his dear return.'”
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