|Word/name||France and Ireland|
|Meaning||Desire, Guardian, Helmet, Protector, Boss|
|Region of origin||France and Ireland|
|Related names||William, Wilhelm, Will, Bill, Gwilym, Guillermo (Latin form)|
|Look up Liam in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Liam is a short form of the Irish name "Uilliam", itself a derivative of the Frankish, "Willahelm". The original name was a merging of the Old German elements, vila ("will" or "resolution") and helma ("helmet"), and therefore, means "helmet of will" and "Guardian". When the Frankish Empire was divided into two parts, the name developed differently in each region. In the French half, Willahelm developed first into "Guilielm", and then into "Guillaume", while the German developed into "Wilhelm" and the English developed into William. Liam was one of the most popular names for boys in the United States in the early 2010s.
Although Willahelm and Guillaume were well known in England prior to 1066, through Saxon dealings with Guillaume, Duc de Normandie, it was viewed as a "foreign" name. The Norman Conquest had a dramatic effect on English names. Many, if not most Saxon names, such as Ethelred, died out under the massive influx of French ones. Since the Royal Court now rang with names such as Alain, Guy, Aeginald and William, they were quickly adopted by the English, the Welsh, and eventually the Irish.
Within a generation, the "new" names had become so completely assimilated that they were regarded as homegrown, and variant forms evolved and thrived alongside one another. In Wales, both William and Gwilym became popular, as did the short forms Wil and Gwil, and almost every village had its own Gwilym Williams (the final "s" represented "son of" or "descendant of"). The Norman conquest of Ireland followed a similar pattern to that of England a century earlier. Within a generation, the Irish Uilliam was found alongside William, and the short form of both was Liam.
Until the end of the 18th century, Liam was virtually unknown outside Ireland, but in the mid-1850s, over a million and a half people left Ireland to escape the catastrophic potato famine, and from then on, Irish names were heard everywhere. Liam as an independent name in England and Wales dates from 1932, but at this stage it was mainly confined to the families of Irish descent. By 1955, it was recorded for two boys in every 10,000, a figure it maintained until 1975, when it rose to four per 10,000.
Late 20th and early 21st century
By 1980, it was clear that Liam was becoming a vogue name in the general population in the United Kingdom, and that year it was recorded for 12 boys per 10,000 in the UK. It continued to gain ground, and in 1985, it stood at 20 per 10,000, and by 1990, it was recorded for 100 boys in every 10,000. In 1996, Liam peaked in popularity as the 10th most popular baby name for boys in England and Wales, according to the UK Office for National Statistics.
Liam continued to remain in the top 33 most popular boys names in the UK throughout the first decade of the 21st century, but started to steadily decline in 1999. Meanwhile, according to the Social Security Administration, Liam had been steadily gaining in popularity in the United States and entered the top 50 names for the first time that same year at number 49. As Liam gained popularity in the US, climbing to number 2 by 2013, popularity in the UK plummeted, and it ranked 67th that same year.
|Year||Rank in the US||Rank in the UK|
In other languages
In Arabic, the word لِئْم, with a pronunciation equivalent to the Irish name Liam, means "harmony in opinion or feeling".
In Persian, the word لیام is the name of a plant in southern part of Iran, means "protector and supporter".
In Hebrew, the name Liam can be spelled two different ways with the same meaning of "My Nation" or "My People": לִיעַם or לִיאַם. לִיעַם is also an acronym for "לא ידע עמי מלחמה" meaning "My nation will not know war." However, ליאם is most often used when referencing the more common English/Irish name, while ליעם is usually used when emphasising the Hebrew roots, but this isn't hard and fast.
- Liam Abernethy, Irish hurler
- Liam Aiken, American actor
- Liam Aylward, Irish politician
- Liam Anthony, an Australian rules footballer
- Liam Brady, footballer
- Liam Byrne, British Labour Party politician
- Liam Callanan, American author
- Liam Clancy, Irish folk singer
- Liam Cunningham, Irish actor
- Liam Cunningham, Irish politician
- Liam Davison, Australian author
- Liam Fahy, Zimbabwean shoe designer
- Liam Finn, New Zealand musician and songwriter
- Liam Foran, New Zealand Rugby League player
- Liam Fox, British politician
- Liam Fulton, Australian Rugby League player
- Liam Gallagher, lead singer of the English rock band Oasis
- Liam Garrigan, English actor
- Liam Gill, Australian Rugby Union player
- Liam Hemsworth, Australian actor
- Liam Howlett, DJ and member of The Prodigy
- Liam Highfield, English professional snooker player
- Liam Irwin, former Gaelic football player
- Liam James, Canadian child actor
- Liam Lawrence, footballer
- Liam Lynch, American singer/dancer
- Liam McIntyre, Australian actor
- Liam McKenna, Irish television presenter
- Liam Miller, footballer
- Liam Neeson, Irish actor
- Liam O'Brien, American voice actor
- Liam O'Neill, Gaelic Athletic Association administrator
- Liam Thomas, American child actor
- Liam Payne, British singer and member of the British-Irish boy band One Direction
- Liam Ridgewell, footballer
- Liam Waite, American actor
- Liam Walsh (hurler) (born 1963), former Irish hurler
- Liam Walsh (boxer) (born 1986), English boxer
- Liam Watson (disambiguation)
- Liam Watts, drummer for the band The Enemy
- Liam Watts, English rugby player in position of prop for Hull Kingston Rovers
- Liam Weldon, Irish folk singer
- Liam Williams, Welsh rugby player
- Liam Wilson, bass player for The Dillinger Escape Plan
- Liam Andrew Wright, British film director, screenwriter and producer
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- "Jewish Top 10s: Baby Names". Shalom Life. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "משמעות השם ליעם". Shemli. Retrieved 28 May 2015.