Billy is a masculine given name with European origins. My etymological research has led me to discover the meaning of the name Billy and what it represents.
Meaning of the Name Billy: A pet name for the masculine given name William, the meaning of the name Billy is “strong defender” or “vehement protector.” It’s used as a given name for boys in many English-speaking countries.
Origins of the Name Billy
The name Billy originated in Old England where it was derived from the Germanic name William. During the Norman Conquest of England of 1066, a multinational army led by William the Conqueror – also known as the Duke of Normandy – invaded and conquered England. Bearing the name William, William the Conqueror was largely responsible for popularizing the name. As a result, usage of the masculine given name William was common throughout 11th and 12th century England.
It’s unknown when it happened, but etymologists believe the Germanic name William was converted into Billy. This likely occurred shortly after the Norman Conquest of England. Regardless, though, Billy is now used as a pet name or nickname for the name William.
The popularity of the Name Billy
Billy has been a very popular masculine name in the United States. Even in 1880, when the United States first started keeping birth records, Billy was the 89th most popular boys’ name in the country. By 1920, Billy had fallen to the 335th most popular boys’ name in the United States. In 1940, Billy slid a little further to the 453rd most popular boys’ name in the country.
The mid-20th century was a turning point for the name Billy, however. In 1950, Billy trended upwards, ranking as the 409th most popular boys’ name in the United States. In 1960, Billy was the 296th most popular boys’ name in the country. Billy peaked in 1980 when it ranked as the 2nd most popular boys’ name in the United States. Billy is no longer the 2nd most popular boys’ name, but it still ranks well above many other masculine given boys names.
Famous men named Billy include American boxer Billy Fox, American baseball player Billy Martin, American musician Billy Gibbons, American comedian Billy Crystal, American singer, and guitarist Billy Masters, Australian politician Billy Tauzin, American musician Billy Joel, English musician Billy Idol and American actor Billy Zane
Popular variants of the name Billy include Bill, Billie, Will, Willie, and William.
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