Charles

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Charles
Charlemagne and Pope Adrian I.jpg
Charlemagne, King of the Franks
Gender Male
Origin
Word/Name French from Germanic
Meaning free man
Other names
Variant form(s) Carl, Karl, Carlo, Carlos
Related names Caroline, Charlotte

Charles is a masculine given name from the French form Charles of a Germanic name Karl. The original Anglo-Saxon was Ċearl or Ċeorl, as the name of king Cearl of Mercia, that disappeared after the Norman conquest of England. Grammatically the final [s] is the former subject case of masculine names in Old French like in Giles or James.

The corresponding Old Norse form is Karl, the German form is also Karl. The name was notably borne by Charlemagne (Charles the Great), and was at the time Latinized as Karolus (as in Vita Karoli Magni), later also as Carolus.

Etymology

The name's etymology is a Common Germanic noun *karlaz meaning "free man", which survives in English as churl (< Old English ċeorl),[1] which developed its deprecating sense in the Middle English period.

In the form Charles, the initial spelling ch- corresponds to the palatalization of the Latin group ca- to [tʃa] in Central Old French (Francien) and the final -s to the former subjective case (cas sujet) of masculine words in Old French (< Latin -us, see Spanish Carlos).

According to Julius Pokorny, the historical linguist and Indo-Europeanist, the root meaning of Karl is "old man", from Indo-European *ĝer-, where the ĝ is a palatal consonant, meaning "to rub; to be old; grain." An old man has been worn away and is now grey with age.[2]

History

Early Middle Ages

The name is atypical for Germanic names as it is not composed of two elements, but simply a noun meaning "(free) man". This meaning of ceorl contrasts with eorl (Old Norse jarl) "nobleman" on one hand and with þeow (Old Norse þræll) "bondsman, slave" on the other. As such it would not seem a likely candidate for the name of a Germanic king, but it is attested as such with Cearl of Mercia (fl. 620), the first Mercian king mentioned by Bede in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. It is a peculiarity of the Anglo-Saxon royal names that many of the rulers of the earliest period (6th to 7th centuries) have monothematic (simplex) names, while the standard dithematic (compounded) names become almost universal from the 8th century. Compare the name of king Mul of Kent (7th century) which simply translates to "mule".

Charles Martel (686–741) was an illegitimate son of Pepin of Herstal, and therefore indeed a "free man", but not of noble rank. After his victory at the Battle of Soissons (718), Charles Martel styled himself Duke of the Franks. Charles' eldest son was named Carloman (c. 710–754), a rare example of the element carl- occurring in a compound name. The Chronicle of Fredegar names an earlier Carloman as the father of Pepin of Landen, and thus the great-great-grandfather of the Charles Martel. This would place the name Carloman in the 6th century, and open the possibility that the Frankish name Carl may originate as a short form of Carloman. The only other compound name with the Carl- prefix is Carlofred (Carlefred), attested in the 7th century; as a suffix, it occurs in the rare names Altcarl and Gundecarl (9th and 11th centuries, respectively).[3]

Charlemagne (742–814) was Charles Martel's grandson. After Charlemagne's reign, the name became irrevocably connected with him and his Carolingian dynasty. After Charlemagne, the name Charles (Karol) became even the standard word for "king" in Slavic (Czech and Slovak král, Polish król; South Slavic kral крал, krȃlj краљ; Russian король), Baltic (Latvian karalis, Lithuanian karalius) and Hungarian (király).

Charlemagne's son Charles the Younger died without issue, but the name resurfaces repeatedly within the 9th-century Carolingian family tree, so with Charles the Bald (823–877), Charles the Fat (839–888) Charles of Provence (845–863), Charles the Child (847/848–866) and Charles the Simple (879–929).

Later Middle Ages and Early Modern history

The name survives into the High Middle Ages (Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine; Charles, Count of Valois; Charles I, Count of Flanders (Charles the Good, beatified in 1882); Charles I of Naples; Charles I of Hungary). Karl Sverkersson was a king of Sweden in the 12th century, counted as "Charles VII" due to a genealogical fiction of the 17th century by Charles "IX", but actually the first king of Sweden with this name.

Charles resurfaces as a royal name in Germany with Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor (1316–1378, counted as "the fourth" after Charlemagne, Charles the Bald and Charles the Fat) and in France with Charles IV of France (1294–1328, "the fourth" after Charlemagne, Charles the Bald and Charles the Simple), and becomes comparatively widespread in the Late Middle Ages (Charles I, Duke of Savoy, Charles III, Duke of Savoy).

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1500–1558) gives rise to a tradition of Charlses in Habsburg Spain (Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles II of Spain, Charles III of Spain, Charles IV of Spain.

The numbering scheme for the kings of Sweden was continued in modern times with Charles X, Charles XI, Charles XII, Charles XIII, Charles XIV and Charles XV.

Charles I of England (1600–1649) is followed by Charles II of England (1630–1685). The Province of Carolina is named during the rule of Charles II, after Charles I.

Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine (1661–1742);

Modern history

Carlism is a political movement in Spain seeking the establishment of a separate line of the Bourbon family on the Spanish throne. This line descended from Infante Carlos, Count of Molina (1788–1855), and was founded due to dispute over the succession laws and widespread dissatisfaction with the Alfonsine line of the House of Bourbon. The movement was at its strongest in the 1830s, causing the Carlist Wars, and had a revival following Spain's defeat in the Spanish-American War in 1898, and lasted until the end of the Franco regime in 1975 as a social and political force

Charles Floyd (1782–1804) was the only casualty in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Charles DeRudio (1832–1910) was an Italian aristocrat, would-be assassin of Napoleon III, and later a career U.S. Army officer who fought in the 7th U.S. Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Charles Albert Varnum (1849–1936) was the commander of the scouts in the Little Bighorn Campaign and received the Medal of Honor for his actions in a conflict following the Battle of Wounded Knee. "Lonesome" Charley Reynolds (1842–1876) was a scout in the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment who was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Carl has been a very popular male given name in the United States during the late 19th to early 20th centuries, consistently ranking in the top 30 male given names in the US from 1887 to 1938, and remaining among the top 100 until the 1980s, but since declining below rank 500. Charles has been among the top 400 male given names in the United States in the 1880s and again in the 1930s, but since then it has declined steadily, dropping out of the top 1,000 by the 1970s. By contrast, it remains among the top 100 names given in England and Wales.

The heir-apparent of the British throne, Charles, Prince of Wales, would become Charles III upon accession if he decided to keep his given name (but he has reportedly considered choosing George VII as his regnal name).

Derived feminine names

Caroline and Charlotte are feminine given names derived from Carl.

Charlotte is late medieval, e.g. Charlotte of Savoy (1441–1483), Charlotte of Cyprus (1444–1487). It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century, and gave rise to hypocorisms such as Lottie, Tottie, Totty.

Caroline is early modern, e.g. Caroline of Ansbach (1683–1737). It has given rise to numerous variations, such as Carlyn, Carolina, Carolyn, Karolyn, Carolin, Karolina, Karoline, Karolina, Carolien, as well as hypocorisms, such as Callie, Carol, Carrie, etc.

Another derived feminine name is Carla (Bulgarian, Dutch, English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan), a name which dates from early Italy.

Regional forms:

    • Carolina (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Bulgarian)
    • Caroline (English, French, Swedish, Danish)
    • Carolyn (English)
    • Carlijn (Dutch)
    • Karoliina (Finnish)
    • Karolina (Bulgarian, Polish, Swedish)
    • Karolína (Czech)
    • Karoline (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish)
    • Karolina (Каролина) (Russian)
    • Qʻrʼalyyn (קעראַליין) (Yiddish)
    • Carly (American)
    • Carol (English)
  • Carola (German, Swedish)
    • Carole (English, French, Portuguese)
    • Qʼarʼál (קאַראָל) (Yiddish)
    • Kyārōla (क्यारोल) (Nepali)
    • Kerol (Керол) (Serbian), (Russian)


  • Charlotte (English, French, German, Swedish, Danish)
    • Carlota (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan)
    • Carlotta (Italian)
    • Charlotta (Swedish)
  • Carla
    • Charla (English)
    • Karla (Bulgarian, German, Scandinavian, Czech)
    • Карла (Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian)

Regional forms of the name

Language Formal name Informal name
Armenian Կարլոս (Karlos)
Basque Karlos
Bulgarian Карл (Karl)
Catalan Carles
Croatian Karlo
Czech Karel
Danish Karl, Carl
Dutch Karel
English Charles Chaz, Chad, Chip, Chuck, Charlie
Estonian Kaarel, Kaarli, Kaaro, Kalle
Faroese Karl
Finnish Kaarlo, Kaarle, Kalle, Karl
French Charles Charlot
German Karl, Carl
Georgian კარლო (Karlo)
Greek Κάρολος (Károlos)
Hungarian Károly, Karcsi
Hawaiian Kale
Icelandic Karl
Irish Carlus, Séarlas
Italian Carlo
Latin Carolus
Latvian Kārlis
Limburgish Sjarel
Lithuanian Karolis
Norwegian Karl, Carl
Polish Karol
Portuguese Carlos Carlinhos
Romanian Carol
Russian Карл (Karl)
Scottish Gaelic Teàrlach
Serbian Карло (Karlo)
Slovak Karol
Slovene Karel
Spanish Carlos Carlito, Carlitos
Swedish Karl, Carl, Kalle
Welsh Siarl

List of notable people called Charles

Media, arts and entertainment

In literature
Name Description
Charles Bukowski American poet and novelist
Charles Dickens English novelist
Charles Dodgson (pen-name Lewis Carroll) English clergyman, writer and mathematician
Charles Henri Ford American poet, photographer and writer
Charles Fort American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena
Charles L. Grant American science-fiction author
Charles Lummis American journalist, poet and historian
Charles Olson American poet
Charles G.D. Roberts Canadian poet
Charles Webb (author) American author of The Graduate
In music
Name Description
Charles Aznavour French-Armenian ballad singer
Chuck Berry American guitarist, singer and composer
Charlie Daniels American country music figure
Charles Gavin Brazilian rock drummer/producer
Charlie Haden American Jazz bassist and composer
Charles Ives American composer
Chuck Mangione American jazz artist
Charles Mingus American Jazz bassist and composer
Charles E. Moody American gospel song writer and performer
Charlie Parker American Jazz saxophonist
Charles Davis Tillman (1861–1943) pioneer of southern gospel music
Charlie Watts English drummer for the rock group The Rolling Stones
In film
Name Description
Charles Bowers American cartoonist and early film-maker
Charles Boyer French-American actor
Charlie Chaplin English comedy actor, famous for silent film acting
Charley Chase American silent film comedian and writer
Charles Dance English actor
Charles Durning American actor
Charles Gray (actor) English actor
Charles Grodin American actor and cable talk show host
Charles Herbert American child actor of the '50s and '60s
Charlton Heston (born John Charles Carter) American actor
Charles Laughton English actor
Chas Licciardello Australian comedian and a member of The Chaser
Charles Stanton Ogle silent film actor
Charles Nelson Reilly American comic actor and game show regular
Charles Reisner American actor and film director
In television
Name Description
Charles Gibson American television journalist
Charles Kuralt American television journalist
Charlie Rose American host of a television interview show
In visual arts
Name Description
Charles Addams American cartoonist known for his particularly black humor and macabre characters
Chuck Jones American animator
Charles Martinet American actor known for playing the voice as Mario and other characters
Charles R. Knight wildlife artist, known for prehistoric restorations
Charles Schulz creator of the comic strip Peanuts

Athletes

Name Description
Charles Barkley former NBA forward and a current NBA color commentator for TNT
Chuck Bednarik NFL player, 1967, Philadelphia Eagles
Charles Daniels (swimmer) (1885–1973) American freestyle swimmer
Charlie Fleming Scottish footballer
Charles "Buckets" Goldenberg American All-Pro football player
Charles Green (disambiguation) multiple people
Chuck Hayes American basketball player who currently plays for the Houston Rockets
Charles Jenkins (disambiguation) multiple people
Charles Lefrançois Canadian high jumper
Charles Madrid "Dr. Charles" one of the founding fathers of sport compact racing
Charlie McCarthy (hurler) Irish hurler
Charles Myer American major league baseball All Star second baseman
Charles Oakley American basketball forward
Charles Radbourn early Major League Baseball pitcher
Charlie Reiter American professional soccer player
Charles Fernando Basílio da Silva Brazilian midfielder
Charles Sifford first African American golfer to play in a PGA tour

In politics

Name Description
Charles "Bubba" Chaney Louisiana politician
Charles Francis Adams, Sr. American congressman and ambassador, grandson of John Adams
Charles Edward Bennett Democratic U.S. Congressman from Florida
Charles Bent first Governor of New Mexico Territory, assassinated in 1847
Charles Joseph Bonaparte former U. S. Attorney General
Charles Bradlaugh British political activist and militant atheist, founder of the National Secular Society
Charles Carroll of Carrollton last living signer of the Declaration of Independence (died 1832)
Charles Colson U.S. President Nixon's Chief Counsel, involved in the Watergate scandal
Charles Magill Conrad former American Secretary of War
Charles Curtis 31st American Vice President, under Herbert Hoover
Charles G. Dawes 30th American Vice President, under Calvin Coolidge
Charles Devens former U.S. Attorney General
Charles de Gaulle French military leader and statesman
James Charles Evers civil rights figure, older brother of Medgar Evers
Charles W. Fairbanks 26th American Vice President, under Theodore Roosevelt
Charles A. Ford American diplomat
Charles Gibbs (Alberta politician) Canadian politician
Charles Harper (Mayor) Australian politician
Charles Evans Hughes former U.S. Secretary of State
Charles Humphreys Pennsylvania delegate to Continental Congress; refused to sign Declaration of Independence due to his Quaker beliefs
Chuck Larson current (2008) U.S. ambassador to Latvia
Charles Lee (Attorney General) former U. S. Attorney General
Charles Mathias (1922–2010) American politician
Karolos Papoulias President of the Hellenic Republic (Greece)
Charles Stewart Parnell Irish political leader
Charles Pearson former Solicitor for The City of London and early railway advocate
Chuck Robb former Governor of Virginia & U.S. Senator
Charlie Rose (congressman) American congressman (Democrat from N.C.)
Charles Scott (governor of Kentucky) also George Washington's Chief of Intelligence during the American Revolution
Charles Harding Smith Irish politician
Charles G. Taylor former president of Liberia
Charles Thomson secretary of the Continental Congress
Charles Wilson (Texas politician) Texas congressman, subject of 2007 movie Charlie Wilson's War

In religion

Saints

There are a number of historical figures known as "Saint Charles", although few are recognized across confessions. In the context of English and British history, "Saint Charles" is typically Charles I of England, recognized as a saint in the Anglican confession only. In Roman Catholicism, the best known Saint Charles is Charles Borromeo (1538–1584), an Italian cardinal, canonized in 1606 by Pope Paul V. Charles, Duke of Brittany (1319–1364) had been canonized after his death, but this was annulled by Pope Gregory XI. Charles the Good (d. 1127) is sometimes referred to as a saint, but while he was beatified in 1904, he has not been canonized.

Other Saints of the Roman Catholic Church, canonized after 1900:

Beatified:

church leaders

Nobility

See #History above for medieval and early modern royalty and nobility. This section lists noblemen born after 1700.

Scientists

Name Description
Charles Babbage English mathematician, philosopher, mechanical engineer and computer scientist
Charles L. Bennett American astrophysicist
Charles Thomas Bolton astronomer who proved the existence of black holes
Charles Darwin British naturalist
Charles Dawson English archaeologist, involved in the Piltdown Man hoax
Charles Fleming (ornithologist) New Zealand ornithologist
Charles Thomas Jackson American geologist
Charles T. Kowal American astronomer, discoverer of Chiron and 2 moons of Jupiter
Charles Lyell Scottish scientist, founder of modern geology
Charles Wright Mills American sociologist
Charles Hazelius Sternberg American fossil collector, involved in the Bone Wars
Charles Mortram Sternberg son of above, also a fossil collector and paleontologist
Charles Tilly American sociologist
Charles Doolittle Walcott American paleontologist and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
Charles Thomson Rees Wilson Scottish physicist

Other

In aviation and aerospace
  • Charles Bolton, American shuttle astronaut, current head of NASA
  • Charles Lindbergh, first person to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean
  • Chuck Yeager, American test pilot and first man to break the sound barrier
entrepreneurs and businessmen
military personnel
  • Charles Upham, most-decorated Commonwealth serviceman of World War Two
criminals

Other uses of the name

See also

References

  1. ^ T. F. Hoad, English Etymology, Oxford University Press, 1993 (ISBN 0-19-283098-8). p. 76.
  2. ^ Pokorny, Julius; G. Starotsin; A. Lubotsky (2007). Proto-Indo-European Etymological Dictionary: a Revised Edition of Julius Pokorny's Indogermanicshes Etymologisches Wörterbuch. Indo-European Language Association. pp. 1192–1193. 
  3. ^ E. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856), s.v. 'Carl' (303).