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William British & World English

The name of two kings of England and two of Great Britain and Ireland:

William in Pitt British & World English

William, 1st Earl of Chatham (1708–78); known as Pitt the Elder. As Secretary of State (effectively Prime Minister), he headed coalition governments 1756–61 and 1766-8. He brought the Seven Years War to an end in 1763 and also masterminded the conquest of French possessions overseas, particularly in Canada and India

sweet william British & World English

A fragrant European garden pink with flattened clusters of vivid red, pink, or white flowers

William, Prince British & World English

William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge (b.1982), elder son of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. He married Catherine Middleton in April 2011 and the couple had a son, Prince George Alexander Louis, in July 2013

William I1 British & World English

(1143–1214), grandson of David I, king of Scotland 1165–1214; known as William the Lion. He attempted to reassert Scottish independence but was forced to pay homage to Henry II of England after being captured by him in 1174

William I2 British & World English

(1533–84), prince of the House of Orange, first stadtholder (chief magistrate) of the United Provinces of the Netherlands 1572–84; known as William the Silent. He led a revolt against Spain from 1568 and was assassinated by a Spanish agent

Blake, William British & World English

(1757–1827), English artist and poet. Blake’s poems mark the beginning of romanticism and a rejection of the Age of Enlightenment. His watercolours and engravings, like his writings, were only fully appreciated after his death. Notable collections of poems: Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794)

Bligh, William British & World English

(1754–1817), British naval officer, captain of HMS Bounty. In 1789 part of his crew, led by the first mate Fletcher Christian, mutinied and Bligh was set adrift in an open boat, arriving safely at Timor, nearly 6,400 km (4,000 miles) away, a few weeks later

Boyce, William British & World English

(1711–79), English composer and organist. His compositions include songs, overtures, and eight symphonies; one of his most famous songs is ‘Hearts of Oak’. He is also noted for his Cathedral Music (1760–73)

Byrd, William British & World English

(1543–1623), English composer. He was joint organist of the Chapel Royal with Tallis and is famous for his Latin masses and his Anglican Great Service

Booth, William British & World English

(1829–1912), English religious leader, founder and first general of the Salvation Army. A Methodist revivalist preacher, in 1865 he established a mission in the East End of London which later became the Salvation Army

Burke, William British & World English

(1792–1829), Irish murderer. He was a bodysnatcher operating in Edinburgh with his accomplice William Hare

Cecil, William British & World English

See Burghley, 1st Baron.

Penn, William British & World English

(1644–1718), English Quaker, founder of Pennsylvania. Having been imprisoned in 1668 for his Quaker writings, he was granted a charter to land in North America by Charles II. He founded the colony of Pennsylvania as a sanctuary for Quakers and other Nonconformists in 1682

Prout, William British & World English

(1785–1850), English chemist and biochemist. He developed the hypothesis that hydrogen is the primary substance from which all other elements are formed, which although incorrect stimulated research in atomic theory

Clark, William British & World English

(1770–1838), American explorer. With Meriwether Lewis, he commanded an expedition (1804-6) across the North American continent

Dawes, William British & World English

(1745–99), US patriot. With Paul Revere he rode from Lexington to Concord, Massachusetts, to warn of approaching British soldiers on April 18, 1775

Fargo, William British & World English

See Wells, Fargo & Co.

Fort William British & World English

A town in western Scotland, on Loch Linnhe near Ben Nevis; population 9,000 (est. 2009)

Smith, William British & World English

(1769–1839), English land surveyor and geologist, known as the father of English geology. He produced the first geological map of England and Wales, based on his discovery that rock strata found in different places could be distinguished on the basis of their characteristic assemblages of fossils

Tell, William British & World English

A legendary hero of the liberation of Switzerland from Austrian oppression. He was required to hit with an arrow an apple placed on the head of his son, which he did successfully. The events are placed in the 14th century, but there is no evidence for a historical person of this name, and similar legends are of widespread occurrence

Wyler, William British & World English

(1902–81), US director; born in Germany. Notable movies: Jezebel (1938), Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Ben-Hur (1959), and Funny Girl (1968)

Hare, William British & World English

See Burke, William.

James, William British & World English

(1842–1910), American philosopher and psychologist. A leading exponent of pragmatism, he sought a functional definition of truth, and in psychology he is credited with introducing the concept of the stream of consciousness. He was the brother of Henry James

Inge, William British & World English

(1913–73) US playwright; full name William Motter Inge. He wrote Come Back, Little Sheba (1950), Picnic (1953), Bus Stop (1955), and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1957)

Kent, William British & World English

(Circa 1685–1748), English architect and landscape gardener. Chiefly remembered for his landscape gardens at Stowe House in Buckinghamshire (circa 1730), he also promoted the Palladian style of architecture in England

Kidd, William British & World English

(1645–1701), Scottish pirate; known as Captain Kidd. Sent to the Indian Ocean in 1695 in command of an anti-pirate expedition, Kidd became a pirate himself. In 1699 he went to Boston in the hope of obtaining a pardon, but was arrested and later hanged in London

Laud, William British & World English

(1573–1645), English prelate, Archbishop of Canterbury 1633–45. His attempts to restore some pre-Reformation practices in England and Scotland aroused great hostility and were a contributory cause of the English Civil War. He was executed for treason

Bateson, William British & World English

(1861–1926), English geneticist. He coined the term genetics in its current sense and publicized the work of Mendel

Baffin, William British & World English

(Circa 1584–1622), English navigator and explorer, the pilot of several expeditions in search of the North-West Passage 1612–16

Caxton, William British & World English

(Circa 1422–91), the first English printer. He printed the first book in English in 1474 and went on to produce about eighty other texts, including editions of Le Morte d’Arthur and Canterbury Tales

Safire, William British & World English

(1929–2009), US journalist and writer. With the New York Times from 1973, he was a conservative political commentator and also wrote the paper’s weekly “On Language” column

Saroyan, William British & World English

(1908–81), US writer. His plays include The Time of Your Life (1939) and Razzle Dazzle (1942). He also wrote novels such as The Human Comedy (1943) and The Laughing Matter (1953). Some of his memoirs are recounted in Places Where I've Done Time (1972)

Cowper, William British & World English

(1731–1800), English poet, best known for his long poem The Task (1785) and the comic ballad John Gilpin (1782). In 1779 he wrote Olney Hymns with the evangelical minister John Newton (1725–1807)

Cobbett, William British & World English

(1763–1835), English writer and political reformer. He started his political life as a Tory, but later became a radical and in 1802 founded the periodical Cobbett’s Political Register. Notable works: Rural Rides (1830)

Cushing, William British & World English

(1732–1810), US Supreme Court associate justice 1789–1810. After serving as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court 1780–89, he became one of the original members of the US Supreme Court

Dampier, William British & World English

(1652–1715), English explorer and adventurer. He is notable for having sailed round the world twice. In 1683 he set out from Panama, crossing the Pacific and reaching England again in 1691; in 1699 the government commissioned him to explore the NW coast of Australia

Dunbar, William British & World English

(Circa 1456-circa 1513), Scottish poet. He was the author of satires such as the political allegory ‘The Thrissill and the Rois’ (‘The Thistle and the Rose’, 1503) and of elegies such as ‘Lament for the Makaris’

Strong, William British & World English

(1808–95), US Supreme Court associate justice 1870–80. Appointed to the Court by President Grant, he wrote the majority opinion in the Court’s 1871 reversal of its decision that declared the Legal Tender Act of 1862 unconstitutional

Stubbs, William British & World English

(1825–1901), English historian and ecclesiastic. He wrote the influential Constitutional History of England (three volumes 1874-8). He was also bishop of Chester (1884-8) and of Oxford (1888–1901)

Styron, William British & World English

(1925–2006), US writer; full name William Clark Styron, Jr. His works include The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967); Sophie’s Choice (1979); Darkness Visible (1990), about his own battle with depression; and A Tidewater Morning: Three Tales from Youth (1993)

Tyndale, William British & World English

(Circa 1494–1536), English translator and Protestant martyr. Faced with ecclesiastical opposition to his project for translating the Bible into English, Tyndale left England in 1524. His translations of the Bible later formed the basis of the Authorized Version. He was burnt at the stake as a heretic in Antwerp

Godwin, William British & World English

(1756–1836), English social philosopher and novelist. He advocated a system of anarchism based on a belief in the goodness of human reason and on his doctrine of extreme individualism

Gilbert, William British & World English

(1544–1603), English physician and physicist. He discovered how to make magnets, and coined the term magnetic pole. His book De Magnete (1600) is an important early work on physics

Gaddis, William British & World English

(1922–98), US writer. He is noted for the novels JR (1975), Carpenter’s Gothic (1985), and A Frolic of His Own (1994)

Harvey, William British & World English

(1578–1657), English physician, discoverer of the circulation of the blood. In De Motu Cordis (1628) Harvey described the motion of the heart and concluded that the blood left through the arteries and returned to the heart through the veins after it had passed through the flesh

Hazlitt, William British & World English

(1778–1830), English essayist and critic. His diverse essays, collected in Table Talk (1821), were marked by a clarity and conviction which brought new vigour to English prose writing

Hogarth, William British & World English

(1697–1764), English painter and engraver. Notable works include his series of engravings on ‘modern moral subjects’, such as A Rake’s Progress (1735), which satirized the vices of both high and low life in 18th-century England

Holden, William British & World English

(1918–81) US actor; born William Franklin Beadle, Jr. His movies include Stalag 17 (1953), Picnic (1955), Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), and Towering Inferno (1974). He also campaigned for animal preservation in Africa

Hoover, William British & World English

(1849–1932), American industrialist; full name William Henry Hoover. In 1908 he bought the patent of a lightweight electric cleaning machine and formed a company to manufacture it with great success. In 1910 the company was renamed Hoover


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