Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Charles

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • English, French, German
  • Number of syllables:
  • 1
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 57
Simple meaning:
Free man

Characteristics of Charles

  • Communicative
  • Creative
  • Optimistic
  • Popular
  • Social
  • Dramatic
  • Happy

Etymology & Historical Origin - Charles

The name Charles is the French and English version of the German name Karl or Carl, derived from the Germanic word “karl” meaning “free man.” A long time ago, the Germanic term “karl” signified a “free” man but not one of nobility; i.e., from the same early medieval root as the Olde English word “ceorl” which stood for “man of low birth, a common man”. In the later Middle High German and Middle English, however, both terms evolved their definitions to mean more simply “man, fellow, husband”. Despite the name’s rather “lowly” beginnings, many Europeans of high rank and those among the royalty bore names derived from Karl/Carl (such as Charlemagne, Charles, Caroline and Charlotte). In fact, the 8th/9th century Frankish leader, Charlemagne (Charles the Great), had a lot to do with the name’s perpetuation among the earlier Franks (a Germanic tribe and precursors to the French people). By the 15th century, upper-class people of England began to adopt the name, and Mary Queen of Scots (having been influenced by her French upbringing) named her first son Charles James. He would eventually become King James VI of Scotland and then King James I of England, uniting Scotland, England and Ireland under one monarchy. Both his son and grandson (King Charles I and II) reigned as king after him. One of the most successful English and French names ever, Charles still reigns supreme on the naming charts of England, the United States, Canada, Australia and France. Carl, Chuck, Charlie, Chas and Chip are all considered short forms of Charles.

Popularity of the Name Charles

Charles has remained a long-time and persistent name choice for American baby boys. From the years 1890 to 1954 (65 straight years) the name was a Top 10 favorite. Every decade since the 1950’s, Charles has dropped an average of 10 spots per ten years, so that today he hovers around position #60. Still quite popular from a relative perspective, Charles may be turning into an old-fashioned option that doesn’t quite meet the same appeal as other classic English names (William, James, John and Henry). Nonetheless, it’s a dignified and erudite sounding name, and borne by many famous people from literary genius Charles Dickens to jazz great Charlie Parker to naturalist Charles Darwin to aviator Charles Lindbergh to basketball star (and struggling golfer) Charles Barkley. It’s a name that speaks volumes without even having to try. The pet form, Charlie, is a less formal form of the name that stands on its own, as well. A risk-free choice, Charles will probably never fall too far down the charts. This one will likely retain his Top 100 status for centuries to come.
Popularity of the Boy Name Charles
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Charles

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Charles

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Charles

    Charles Darnay (A Tale of Two Cities) Darnay is the aristocratic counterpart to Sydney Carton in the Charles Dickens’ classic "A Tale of Two Cities" about the French Revolution. A French nobleman, he denounces his background and moves to London, hiding his identity, working as a tutor, and falling in love with Lucie Manette. Historical Fate will not let him be, however, and he returns to France to participate in what he believes to be his duty in freeing a friend caught in the crossfire of the revolution. Imprisoned, he is saved in a swap of identities by the seemingly ignoble Sydney Carton, and he and Lucie, married, name their child Sydney in his honor.

    Charles Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie) Charles Ingalls is the father of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and occupies a lofty position in the series of books she wrote about growing up in the 19th century Midwest, epitomized by "Little House On the Prairie." Very popular in its time and afterward as an inspirational story for children, the series became hugely popular after it was adapted for television in the 1970’s, starring Michael Landon as Charles and Melissa Gilbert as Laura. People everywhere then and today warmed to the strong family bonds depicted. Charles is always portrayed as a kind, wise and loving husband and father, who overcomes many obstacles and saves the day for his family in often dramatic settings. The real Charles Ingalls may have been a tad less heroic, but we will forgive his daughter for some whitewashing in the interests of the legacy of a marvelous father figure to whom many men might aspire.

    Charles Wallace Murry (A Wrinkle in Time) Charles Murry is a character in the Madeleine L’Engels series of books about the O’Keefe and Murry families, most notably the first , "A Wrinkle In Time," published in 1962. He is the youngest brother of Meg Murry, and a certified genius in his own five-year-old right. A whimsical sci-fi book aimed at the younger reader, it explores the “other dimension” to be found within the “wrinkle in time”, through which Meg and Charles travel to find their scientist father, who has mysteriously disappeared. Charles is a strangely precocious and gifted child who can read minds and discern what might be hidden to others. In a thrilling exploration of the dark side, L’Engels leads her young readers toward a conclusion that demonstrates that the powers of love must unite with the powers of intelligence to effect salvation.

  • Popular Songs on Charles

    Popular Songs on Charles

    Charles in Charge - a song by Relient K

    Mr. Charles Blues - a song by Ray Charles

    St. Charles - a song by Jefferson Starship

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Charles

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Charles

    A Wind in the Door (Madeline L'Engle) - There are dragons in the twins' vegetable garden," announces six-year-old Charles Wallace Murry in the opening sentence of The Wind in the Door. His older sister, Meg, doubts it. She figures he's seen something strange, but dragons--a "dollop of dragons," a "drove of dragons," even a "drive of dragons"--seem highly unlikely. As it turns out, Charles Wallace is right about the dragons--though the sea of eyes (merry eyes, wise eyes, ferocious eyes, kitten eyes, dragon eyes, opening and closing) and wings (in constant motion) is actually a benevolent cherubim (of a singularly plural sort) named Proginoskes who has come to help save Charles Wallace from a serious illness. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle) - It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. "Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract." A tesseract is a wrinkle in time. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Deliver Us from Normal (Kate Klise) - Yes, there really is a Normal, Illinois. Charles Harrisong should know; he was born there. But life is difficult for Charles because his family isn't normal at all. They're poor, for one thing. They stand out, which is the worst thing. After an ugly incident at school, Charles and family leave Normal and begin an adventure that takes them to a houseboat that just might be their new home. And Charles begins a personal journey within his own heart; one that will ultimately deliver him both from and to himself. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Good-Bye, Charles Lindbergh (Louise Borden) - In 1927, pilot Charles Lindbergh made his famous flight between New York and Paris. After that he had many more journeys, and met many people on the way. This is the story of one such flight, when a young boy had the good fortune of meeting Charles Lindbergh in a field in Mississippi. Recommended of ages 4-8.

    My Brother Charlie (Holly Robinson Peete) - Twins Callie and Charlie have a lot in common, but they are also very different: Charlie has autism. Callie narrates the story, describing what autism is and exploring the issues that come along with it. The theme is of love, patience, and acceptance. Endnotes give a few basic facts for children unfamiliar with the disorder. The authors, a mother-daughter team, based this story on personal experience. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Shy Charles (Rosemary Wells) - Charles is a shy boy and that doesn’t seem to bother him one bit. His parents constantly try to cajole him into being more outgoing but he’ll have none of that. It’s not until he must save his babysitter that he’s forced into action! Recommended for ages 3-5.

    Six Empty Pockets (Matt Curtis) - Charles's six empty pockets come in handy for carrying such treasures as a blue star marble, an old crow's feather, and seven striped stones. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Swiftly Tilting Planet (Madeline L'Engle) - Companion to the Newbery Award winner “A Wrinkle in Time” and “A Wind in the Door,” fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo. They are not alone in their quest. Charles Wallace's sister, Meg--grown and expecting her first child, but still able to enter her brother's thoughts and emotions by "kything"--goes with him in spirit. Charles Wallace must face the ultimate test of his faith and his will as he is sent within four people from another time, there to search for a way to avert the tragedy threatening them all. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    The Journey of Charles Lindbergh (Robert Burleigh) - Experience all the drama of Charles Lindbergh's history-making flight on May 20, 1927 as you travel along with the first pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. Follow the courage and endurance of one man who dared to make his dream come true. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Voices in the Park (Anthony Browne) - Four different voices tell their own versions of the same walk in the park. The radically different perspectives give a fascinating depth to this simple story which explores many of the author’s key themes, such as alienation, friendship and the bizarre amid the mundane. The voices are an uppity, overbearing mother and her glum son, Charles; and an unemployed fellow and his cheerful daughter, Smudge. Recommended for ages 7-11.

    Worm's Tale (Astrid Troud) - When Arthus accidentally steps on a worm, Charles, in the park, he makes a new and special friend. Recommended for ages 3-6.

  • Famous People Named Charles

    Famous People Named Charles

    Famous People Named Charles - Charles Bukowski (author); Charles Boyer (actor); Charlie Chaplin (actor/director); Charles Durning (actor); Charlton Heston (born Charles Carter, actor); Charles Laughton (actor); Charles Schulz (cartoonist); Charles Dickens (novelist); Charles Dodgson (pen-name Lewis Carroll, author); Chuck Berry (singer/guitarist); Charlie Daniels (country musician); Buddy Holly (born Charles Hardin Holley, musician); Charles Ives (composer); Charlie Parker (jazz musician); Charlie Watts (musician); Charles Gibson (journalist); Charles Kuralt (journalist); Charles de Gaulle (French leader); Charles Darwin (naturalist); Charles Barkley (basketball player); Charlie Rose (TV personality); Charles R. Schwab (businessman); Charles Lindbergh (aviator); Chuck Yeager (first man to break the sound barrier); Prince Charles of Wales (royalty)

  • Children of Famous People Named Charles

    Children of Famous People Named Charles

    Famous People who Named their Son Charles - Andrew Johnson (U.S. President); Charles Dickens (author); Charles Schulz (cartoonist); Charlie Chaplin (actor/director); Chris O'Donnell (actor); Cynthia Nixon (actress); Earl Spencer (royalty); Ed Asner (actor); Frederick Douglass (social reformer); Gary Cooper (actor); Jimmy Hoffa (notorious); Jodie Foster (actress/director); John Adams (U.S. President); John Quincy Adams (U.S. President); Julia Louis Dreyfuss (actress); Queen Elizabeth II (royalty); Robert Stack (actor); Russell Crowe (actor); Shirley Temple Black (actress/diplomat); Thomas Edison (inventor); Tommy Lasorda (baseball); Viscount Linley (royalty); Walter Matthau (actor); William Howard Taft (U.S. President)

  • Historic Figures

    Charles - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Charles Darwin (12 Feb 1809 – 19 Apr 1882) - Charles Darwin is the biologist who essentially founded the science of evolution with the publication of his exhaustive and controversial tomes, The Origin of Species, in 1859, and in 1871, The Descent of Man. Published to vitriolic attack for their seeming denial of the existence of an Almighty Creator, the works stir controversy even today, over a century and a half later. Charles Darwin undertook a five year voyage on HMS Beagle, and his observations and collections of species led him to the theorization of all life forms having been descended from common ancestors (including apes), and that natural selection decided which would live and which would die out. Not a popular dish to put before the Victorian public of his time, as he suspected and was to find out. No matter that we are still debating his “theories” this much later - all things being equal, and with no disrespect to Mr. Darwin, he and the redoubtable Mrs. D. contributed to the species by ten of their own – no small contribution!

Personality of the Boy Name Charles

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Variations of the Baby Name - Charles

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