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Carlos Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Carlos, including the meaning, gender, origin, origin, popularity, and more.

Carlos Overview

  • Meaning: Carlos means “free man” in Spanish, as well as “manly” and “strong” in German. It’s based on the Germanic “karal,” meaning “warrior” or “army.”
  • Gender: Carlos is a boy’s name, and the female form is Carla.
  • Origin: Carlos is the Spanish form of Charles that originated from the Germanic Karl and Karol.
  • Pronunciation: Carlos is pronounced “KAAR-Lows” in Spanish.
  • Popularity: Carlos ranked 266th for U.S. boys in 2022. It has consistently been a popular name, even after declining in popularity from 1984 to 2007.
  • Nicknames: Car, Carlito, Carlitos, Carlo, Carloz, Charley, Charlie, Charly, Chaz, Chazzie, Chuck, Chuckie, Lo, Los.
  • Variations: Carel, Carl, Carlisle, Carloto, Carlu, Carlyle, Carol, Caroll, Carolus, Carroll, Caryl, Charles, Charlot, Kaarel, Kaarle, Kaarlo, Karel, Karl, Kārlis.
  • Namesakes: Carlos Caridad Montero, Venezuelan film director known for “Nocturno.” Carlos Irwin Estévez (known as Charlie Sheen), American actor known for “Platoon” (1986).

What Does Carlos Mean?

Carlos is the Spanish variation of the boy’s name, Charles. It is ultimately derived from the Germanic name Karl, meaning “free man.” Carlos can also mean “manly” and “strong” in Spanish and French when taken from the Germanic “karal.” Carlos may mean “warrior” and “army” from the Old High German “heri.”

What Is the Origin of the Name Carlos?

Carlos relates both to the English Charles and the German Karl. Karl became somewhat common in Germany, Austria, and Scandinavian countries. The Swedish Carl is used by King Carl XVI Gustaf. Carlos itself was used by at least four kings of Spain, such as Carlos III.

Carlos was first used in Spain in the 14th-century and increased in popularity in the 15th-century. Thanks to Spanish immigrants, Carlos is now well-known among boys in North and South America and Latin America.

How Popular Is the Name Carlos?

Carlos has ranked in the top 250 boys’ names in the U.S. in recent years. Though it remained common in the U.S. in the 20th-century, Carlos decreased in popularity from 1984 to 2007. It has always remained in the top 600 U.S. boys’ names, yet peaked from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Today, Carlos is still within the top 200.

Carlos is also quite popular in other Spanish-speaking countries, from Mexico and Spain to Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile.

How Do I Pronounce Carlos?

Carlos is pronounced “KAAR-Lows” in Spanish.

Is Carlos a Boy or Girl Name?

Carlos is primarily for boys and is rarely used as a girl’s name.

Variations of Carlos

Carlos is just one of many variations based on Charles.

  • Carel (German)
  • Carl (Scandinavian)
  • Carlisle (Old English)
  • Carloto (Spanish)
  • Carlu (Corsican)
  • Carlyle (Old English)
  • Carol (English)
  • Caroll (Irish)
  • Carolus (German)
  • Carroll (Irish)
  • Caryl (German)
  • Ċeorl (Old English)
  • Charles (English)
  • Charlot (French)
  • Kaarel (Finnish)
  • Kaarle (Finnish)
  • Kaarlo (French)
  • Karel (Dutch)
  • Karl (Croatian)
  • Kārlis (Latvian)

Nicknames for Carlos

There are tons of ways to address someone named Carlos, from the cute to the unusual.

  • Car
  • Carlito
  • Carlitos
  • Carlo
  • Carloz
  • Charley
  • Charlie
  • Charly
  • Chaz
  • Chazzie
  • Chuck
  • Chuckie
  • Lito
  • Litos
  • Lo
  • Los

Similar Names to Carlos

These names are similar to Carlos but have a meaning all on their own.

Middle Names for Carlos

Carlos makes a great start to handsome middle names like these.

Sibling Names for Carlos

Your little Carlos will love his brother or sister when they go by one of these unforgettable names.

Famous People Named Carlos

Discover how many famous people are named Carlos globally.

  • Carlos Acosta: Cuban ballet dancer.
  • Carlos Arruza: Mexican bullfighter.
  • Carlos Caridad-Montero: Venezuelan film director.
  • Carlos Casimiro: Dominican baseball player.
  • Carlos Castaneda: American author.
  • Carlos Castro: Portuguese journalist.
  • Carlos Chávez: Mexican composer.
  • Carlos Delfino: Argentine NBA basketball player.
  • Carlos Delgado: Puerto Rican baseball player.
  • Carlos Edwards: Trinidadian footballer.
  • Carlos Gutierrez: U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
  • Carlos Huertas: Colombian racing driver.
  • Carlos Hyde: American football player.
  • Carlos Jaramillo: Colombian road cyclist.
  • Carlos Mencia: American comedian.
  • Carlos Ponce: Puerto Rican actor.
  • Carlos Reyes: American baseball player.
  • Carlos Rivera: Mexican actor.
  • Carlos Santana: Mexican musician.
  • Carlos Teixeira: Portuguese volleyball player.

Carlos in Popular Culture

There are quite a few instances of Carlos used throughout pop culture.

  • Carlos Casagrande: Main character in the Nickelodeon series “The Casagrandes.”
  • Carlos De Vil: Son of Cruella in the film franchise “Descendants.”
  • Carlos Lopez: Character in the “Transformers Unicron Trilogy.”
  • Carlos Miyamoto: Player character in the SNES game Final Fight 2.
  • Carlos Molina: Character in Netflix’s “Julie and the Phantoms.”
  • Carlos Nieto: Character in the TV series “Third Watch.”
  • Carlos Rivera: Character in the anime series “Ashita no Joe.”
  • Carlos Solis: Character in the series “Desperate Housewives.”
  • Carlos Vallerte: Character appearing in the “Power Rangers” series.
  • Carlos: Appearing in the Animal Planet TV series “Meerkat Manor.”
  • Carlos: Character from the video game Subway Surfers.
  • Carlos: Character in the video game Saints Row 2.
  • Carlos: Protagonist from the video game Zero Time Dilemma.
  • Carlos: Villain in the 2006 James Bond film “Casino Royale.”
  • Don Carlos: Main title character in the opera by Verdi.

Carlos FAQs

Sit back and read about different forms of Carlos you may not have known about.

Is Carlos a Mexican or Italian Name?

Carlos is the Spanish form of Charles, used in Spain, Mexico, and most other Spanish-speaking countries. It originated from the Germanic Karl and traveled to Spain first as the Latin Carolus. It became Carlos, the most recognized form of Charles in Spanish. The Italian form of Charles is Carlo.

What Is the Female Version of Carlos?

The official female variation of Carlos is Carla. It’s mainly used in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as German, Dutch, and English. Carla, like Carlos, means “free man,” which is usually changed to “free woman” for girls. In addition to Carlos, Carla is the female equivalent to Carl and Carlo. Nicknames for Carla include Carlita, Carley, Carli, and Carly.

What Is the Name Carlos in Irish?

Cathal is the Irish version of Charles and Carlos in Irish. It derives from the Old Irish “cath,” meaning “battle,” and “fal,” meaning “rule.” As with Carlos, Cathal has been used by kings, writers, and saints throughout the Emerald Isle. Cathal is also associated with the Gaelic surname MacCathail or O’Cathail, meaning “powerful in battle.”

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.