Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Walter

In early medieval England, Walter was originally rendered as “Wealdhere” (pronounced ‘Water’), a personal name from the Germanic elements “wald” meaning ‘rule’ and “heri, hari” meaning ‘army’. The name was also common among the Frankish and was later reintroduced to the English by the Norman French in the form of Walter, which superseded and replaced the original Olde English form of the name (although the French form of Walter today is Gautier). One of the earliest notable figures who bore this name was a legendary Visigoth hero from the 5th century, Walter of Aquitaine, whose story was popular during the Middle Ages and known to the Anglo-Saxons. The Visigoths were a Germanic tribe who had migrated to southern Europe (they are the ones who famously sacked Rome in 410 AD). “Waldere” (Walter) is an Anglo-Saxon epic poem recovered in between the pages of an Elizabethan prayer book by a 19th century Copenhagen librarian 1000 years after it had been written! Although only fragments were found, the poem’s existence indicates the popularity of this legend throughout the Germanic world. It tells of the Gothic hero Waldere and his love Hiltigund (a Burgundian princess) who are taken hostage by the Huns and subsequently flee after stealing treasures from Attila’s court. The king of the Burgundians, Gunther, gets wind of the valuable booty and believing the lovers and their treasure to be a part of his domain, takes pursuit. The young fugitives are eventually overtaken by the king and his men, but Walter positions himself well and kills them all in single bloody combat (all but the king and his main officer Hagen). Gunther and Hagen continue to pursue Walter and engage in one final, brutal battle before a peace agreement is reached. The poem ends with the assurance of a happy future for Walter and his bride Hiltigund. Walter has been an extremely popular name among the English, dating way back to medieval England and on par with names like John, Robert, William and Richard.

All About the Baby Name – Walter

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME WALTER

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME WALTER

The name Walter has had a long and successful history on the American male naming charts. Between the years 1880 and 1940, this name was among the Top 25 most favored boy names in the United States. That’s a claim only a very few names can make. Even after the 1940s, Walter remained on the Top 50 list for another almost 30 years. It wasn’t until 1973 that Walter dropped off the Top 100 list for the first time (probably) in the history of America. Sadly, since the 1980s this is a name that has fallen out of style quickly. It has graciously stepped aside to make room for the Jaydens, Aidens and Logans of modern day naming practices. Walter has gone from dominating a spot on the list of most commonly used boy names throughout most of our nation’s history, to being one of the most unstylish names today. However, if past endurance is any indicator we should see Walter return triumphantly once again. We hope so, at least. This is a name with antique charm and refreshing old-world sophistication. It’s also a great choice for a baby boy born into a military (army) family.

Quick Facts

ON WALTER

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

342

PRONUNCIATION:

WALL-tәr

SIMPLE MEANING:

Ruler of the Army

Characteristics

OF WALTER

Mystical

Wise

Eccentric

Intuitive

Imaginative

Philosophical

Solitary

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Walter

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME WALTER

Walter Mitty is the subject of James Thurber’s famous short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, first published in the New Yorker in 1939. He is an ineffectual, meek, henpecked kind of man who, in his daydreams, is a daredevil pilot, a brilliant doctor, and a cunning killer, among other fantasies. His character’s name has passed into the lexicon as the epitome of one who leads a rich fantasy life in contrast to his very ordinary everyday life. Even in those daydreams, the hapless Walter often trips over his own dreams and ends up a victim of his own making. The 1947 film starring Danny Kaye eschewed the psychological overtones of Thurber’s work and presented Mitty as a lovable doofus who lands in the middle of his own fantasy and is led to admit that heroism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Whatever the interpretation, be it dark-edged or lighthearted, there is no doubt of the importance of the imagination in the lives of the species known as “Homo sapiens”.

Popular Songs

ON WALTER

Uncle Walter
a song by Ben Folds Five

Walter
a song by The Blue Dogs

Walter Whitman Where Are You
a song by Gino Vannelli

Famous People

NAMED WALTER

Walter Disney (film producer)
Walter Cronkite (TV news anchor)
Walter "Walt" Whitman (poet/essayist)
Sir Walter Scott (Scottish author)
Sir Walter Raleigh (explorer)
Walter “Bruce” Willis (actor)
Walter Matthau (actor)
Walter Mondale (U.S. Vice President)
Walter Payton (football player)
Walter Alston (baseball manager)
Walter Brown (hockey player)
Walter Bush (hockey player)
Walter Hagen (golfer)
Walter Johnson (baseball player)
Little Walter (blues harmonica player)
Walter Pratt (hockey player)
Walter Travis (golfer)
Walter Disney (film producer)
Walter Cronkite (TV news anchor)
Walter "Walt" Whitman (poet/essayist)
Sir Walter Scott (Scottish author)
Sir Walter Raleigh (explorer)
Walter “Bruce” Willis (actor)
Walter Matthau (actor)
Walter Mondale (U.S. Vice President)
Walter Payton (football player)
Walter Alston (baseball manager)
Walter Brown (hockey player)
Walter Bush (hockey player)
Walter Hagen (golfer)
Walter Johnson (baseball player)
Little Walter (blues harmonica player)
Walter Pratt (hockey player)
Walter Travis (golfer)
Walter Disney (film producer)
Walter Cronkite (TV news anchor)
Walter "Walt" Whitman (poet/essayist)
Sir Walter Scott (Scottish author)
Sir Walter Raleigh (explorer)
Walter “Bruce” Willis (actor)
Walter Matthau (actor)
Walter Mondale (U.S. Vice President)
Walter Payton (football player)
Walter Alston (baseball manager)
Walter Brown (hockey player)
Walter Bush (hockey player)
Walter Hagen (golfer)
Walter Johnson (baseball player)
Little Walter (blues harmonica player)
Walter Pratt (hockey player)
Walter Travis (golfer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED WALTER

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Walter

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME WALTER

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Walter