When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Charles Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Charles Overview

  • Meaning: Charles means “freeman” in Germanic and Old English.
  • Gender: Charles is traditionally a male’s name.
  • Origin: Charles originates from “Charlemagne” and was first popular in France.
  • Pronunciation: Charles is pronounced “ch-AH-r-l-s,” which rhymes with “snarls.”
  • Popularity: Charles is a very popular male name in the United States.
  • Nicknames: Charlie, Chas, Chip, Chuck, Chuckie.
  • Variations: Carl, Carlo, Carlos, Kale, Kaolis, Karl, Karol, Siarl.
  • Namesakes: Charles Addams, Charles Bukowski, Charlie Chaplin, Charles DeGaulle, Charles Dickes.

What Does Charles Mean?

Charles means “freeman.”

Some believe Charles comes from the word “ceorl,” which means “free man.” This word was used in Old English to distinguish between free people, the nobility, and the enslaved.

Others attribute the meaning of Charles to its Germanic counterpart Karl, which also means freeman.

What Is the Origin of the Name Charles?

The name Charles originated in Germanic languages and has been popular in Western European countries for centuries.

The earliest records of Charles as a popular name come from France, where Emperor Charlemange ruled from 742 until 814. Eventually, the name was brought to Scotland, a nation closely connected with the French.

The name Charles traveled from Scotland to England in the 1600s, where it became popular amongst the royals. Charles I ruled in England from 1600 until 1649 (1).

The name was brought to North America by the English throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, where it remains a popular boy’s name today.

How Popular Is the Name Charles?

Charles is a very popular baby name, ranking #50 on the 2021 baby boy’s list (2).

Charles has been very popular since 1900, although it has decreased in popularity since then.

The Social Security Administration ranked Charles in the Top 10 names every year from 1900 until 1955 (3). It has slowly moved down the list ever since.

Female variations of the name Charles have also been very popular in recent years. Charlotte, a female variation of Charles, was the third most popular baby girl name in 2021 (4).

How Do I Pronounce Charles?

Charles is pronounced, “ch-AH-r-l-s.” It rhymes with “snarls.”

Be sure to pronounce the “a” like “AH” instead of a “u” or “UH” sound.

Is Charles a Boy or Girl Name?

Charles has traditionally been used as a boy’s name, but variations of the name have recently blurred the gender line.

Female versions of Charles, such as Charlotte and Carlotta, have recently grown in popularity. Charlie, a popular nickname for Charles, has become a popular girl’s name, often used as a nickname for Charlotte.

You should choose the right name for you, regardless of your child’s gender. If you love the name Charles for your daughter, go for it! Names have become less gender-specific in recent generations, so it is not uncommon for traditionally male names to be used for girls as well.

Variations of Charles

There are many variations of Charles for both genders. Below are a few of the most popular variations of the name Charles.

  • Carl (Danish, Swedish, Norweigan)
  • Carlo (Italian)
  • Carlos (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Kale (Hawaiin)
  • Kaolis (Lithuanian)
  • Karl (German)
  • Karol (Slovak)
  • Siarl (Welsh)

For Girls

There are some variations of Charles that are used for girls instead of boys. These names are common in the United States, and some have spiked in popularity in recent years.

  • Charlotte
  • Carly (also spelled Carlie)
  • Carol
  • Caroline
  • Charlene

Nicknames for Charles

While nicknames come in all shapes in sizes, these are the most popular nicknames for boys named Charles.

  • Charlie
  • Chip
  • Chuck
  • Chuckie
  • Chas

Similar Names to Charles

If you like the name Charles, you might like these other classic names:

Middle Names for Charles

Many names pair well with Charles. These are popular choices for a middle name for your new baby Charles:

Sibling Names for Charles

Here are sibling names that go well with Charles.

Famous People Named Charles

Charles has been a popular name in the English-speaking world for many generations. As a result, many famous people throughout history have this regal name. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Charles Addams: American cartoon artist and creator of The Addams Family.
  • Charles Bukowski: American poet.
  • Charlie Chaplin: English actor, filmmaker, and composer.
  • Charles DeGaulle: French statesman.
  • Charles Dickens: English novelist who is known for many works, such as Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, and Oliver Twist.
  • Charles Lindbergh: American pilot who made the first solo flight across the Atlantic.
  • Charlie Parker: American jazz saxophonist.
  • Charlie Sheen: American actor.
  • Charles Shulz: American cartoonist and creator of the Peanuts comics.
  • Charlie Watts: English musician, drummer for the Rolling Stones.

Charles in Popular Culture

As one of the most popular baby names of the last two centuries, Charles pops up often in popular culture. Here are some of the most well-known Charles in pop culture.

  • Charles Xavier, aka Professor X: Main character in Marvel’s X-Men comics, television, and movie series.
  • Charlie Brown: Popular cartoon character in the comic strip Peanuts.
  • Chuckie Finster: Popular character on the children’s show Rugrats.
  • Charlie Harper: Main character on Two and a Half Men, portrayed by Charlie Sheen.
  • Charlie Weasley: Character in the Harry Potter book and movie series.
  • Chuck Bass: Main character in book and television series Gossip Girl.

Charles FAQs

Here are commonly asked questions about the name Charles.

What Is the Biblical Meaning of Charles?

The biblical meaning of the name Charles is “free man.” The Hebrew and biblical meaning of the name is the same as the general meaning that we described above.

Does Charles Mean Warrior?

An alternative theory of Charles’ meaning states that the name means army or warrior. This theory traces the name Charles back to the Germanic word, “hari.” Hari means army or warrior and is a typical root of many names.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?