National Carl Day is observed yearly on June 3, a tribute to the incredible people in your life named Carl. There’s much more to this unassuming, monosyllabic name than you realize. Europe’s monarchy loved the name. Everyday heroes and (anything but) ordinary folk as well. What made Carl so appealing to everyone? The answer lay in the true meaning of the word Carl — a free man — the man everyone aspires to be. Given the name’s origins, it’s no surprise why we admire the Carls we know. Here’s to them. May their tribe of free-spirited, strong-willed individuals keep growing.
History of National Carl Day
Carl originally comes from the Germanic ‘Karl,’ meaning ‘a free man.’ The name’s roots go back to Old West Norse, a western dialect of Old Norse that eventually branched out into Icelandic and Norwegian.
It appears that the meaning of Carl evolved to mean ‘free man,’ but the original definition was closer to ‘commoner,’ which brings us to some delicious irony. The name Carl was first popular in an institution representing anything but the ordinary man or freedom — the royal families of Europe. Several kings of Sweden have borne the name, including Carl XVI Gustaf.
Soon, Carl’s popularity spread to countries such as Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Estonia. In the United States, the name became common thanks to Scandinavian and Italian settlers. The Italians preferred ‘Carlo,’ however.
Carl’s quintessentially footloose ways eventually made their way into spelling. He became better known as Karl in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway. When in Latin America or Spain, people called him Carlos. Further away in Slovakia or Poland, you should be looking for a man named Karol. In the English-speaking world, he’s best known as Charles.
The name Carl seems to have lived up to its reputation throughout history. Many bearing the name are leaders and free thinkers in their fields. Through Carl Jung, we saw glimpses and explanations of our inner selves for the first time. Carl Sagan opened up universes, rekindling our sense of wonder. What else will a Carl do for the world? Only time will tell.
National Carl Day timeline
The word ‘Carl’ first appears in Middle English to mean ‘man’ or ‘commoner.’
The Karl family name is found in the U.S.A., the U.K., Scotland, and Canada.
Psychologist Carl Jung first develops concepts around the collective unconscious, extraversion, and introversion.
In Arkansas, the U.S.A., the name Carl becomes the 39th most popular baby boy's name.
National Carl Day FAQs
What is the name Carl short for?
Many people today use Carl to shorten the name Carlton. It is also a form of the German and Scandinavian name, Karl, a version of Charles.
Is there a town named Carl?
A town named Carl does exist in Barrow Country, Georgia. It has a population of approximately 269 people.
Is Carl a rare name?
The name Carl is ranked at number 848 in a list of Top 1,000 names.
National Carl Day Activities
Make a Carl smile
Today is all about Carl. Pay him a genuine compliment or buy him a drink. Find different ways to make the day count.
Watch Pixar's “Up”
Allow the adventures of Carl Fredericksen to inspire you. Think you’re too old to do things you love? This movie will change your mind.
Listen to a Carl-inspired playlist
Put together your favorite songs about breaking free. Play and let loose. We’re big fans of En Vogue’s ‘Free Your Mind,’ Tracy Chapman’s ‘Revolution,’ and Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin.’
5 Interesting Facts About Carls
A strong belief in the spiritual
Carls has a penchant for the mystic and spiritual in their quest for truth.
They are smart
Creativity, and intuitiveness, with a tinge of psychic abilities, are some of their qualities.
Carls dislike taking orders which is why they sometimes don't spend time with people.
Known to be sympathetic
Although they prefer their company, they are known to be generous, compassionate, and sympathetic.
Perceived as paternal figures
They are so dependable and supportive that they are regarded as paternal figures regardless of age.
Why We Love National Carl Day
It is an avenue to learn
Not many of us were familiar with the fascinating origins of Carl before today. Going deeper unearths incredible discoveries. It’s a valuable skill to cultivate.
It encourages uniqueness
Carl is Carl, not a short form for a longer, fancier name. We love that confidence. Carl knows he doesn’t need to be anyone but himself.
It celebrates diversity
Whether you’re a Carl, Karl, or Carlos, the difference is only in spelling and geography. Linguistics only illuminates the fundamentals of our existence, we are the same.
National Carl Day dates