Walter (name)

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Walter, Walther
Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex from NPG.jpg
Word/nameOld High German
MeaningRuler of the army, Bright army
Other names
Related namesValter, Valtyr, Wouter, Gauthier, Gualtiero, Gutierre

Walter or Walther is a German masculine given name derived from Old High German Walthari, composed of the elements walt- (Proto-Germanic *wald-) "rule", "brightness" and hari (Proto-Germanic *χarja) "army".[1]

The name is recorded for the 6th century, with Walthari son of Wacho, who was king of the Lombards during 539–546. Old High German forms are recorded as Walthari, Waltari, Walthar, Waltar, Waltere, Waldheri, Waldhere, Waltheri, Walthere, Walther, Walter, Waldher, Valter. The Old English equivalent is Wealdhere, Old Norse has Valðar, Valdarr.[2]

The name entered the French language as Gauthier, Spanish as Gutierre and Italian as Gualtiero. The modern Dutch form of the name is Wouter. The German name has also been adopted in a number of languages in the spelling Valter.

The Latinized form is Waltharius, the title of a poem of the late 9th or early 10th century on the legendary Gothic king Walter of Aquitaine. A fragmentary Old English poem on the same character is known as Waldere. Walter of Aquitaine is not a historical king; Jacob Grimm in Teutonic Mythology speculates that Walthari, literally "wielder of hosts", may have been an epithet of the god of war, Ziu or Eor, and that the circumstance that the hero of the Waltharius poems loses his right hand in battle may be significant, linking him to the Norse tradition of Tyr.

Geographical distribution[edit]

As of 2014, 43.5% of all known bearers of the surname Walter were residents of Germany (frequency 1:643), 23.4% of the United States (1:5,374), 5.0% of Nigeria (1:12,307), 4.0% of France (1:5,814), 2.0% of Austria (1:1,467), 1.9% of England (1:10,157), 1.8% of Brazil (1:38,529), 1.6% of Australia (1:5,113), 1.4% of Angola (1:6,511), 1.3% of Canada (1:9,641), 1.3% of Switzerland (1:2,176), 1.2% of Ghana (1:7,682), 1.1% of Argentina (1:13,353), 1.0% of Poland (1:12,776) and 1.0% of South Africa (1:19,181).

In Germany, the frequency of the surname was higher than national average (1:643) in the following states:[3]

  1. Baden-Württemberg (1:386)
  2. Bremen (1:422)
  3. Brandenburg (1:450)
  4. Hesse (1:526)
  5. Saxony-Anhalt (1:539)
  6. Rhineland-Palatinate (1:599)
  7. Thuringia (1:603)
  8. Bavaria (1:606)
  9. Saxony (1:621)
  10. Saarland (1:627)

List of people named Walter[edit]

Given name[edit]



  • Walter (Muppet), a Muppet character introduced in the 2011 film The Muppets
  • Walter, a puppet of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (born 1962)
  • Walter the Softy (real name Walter Brown), arch-enemy of Dennis the Menace from The Beano comic since 1953.
  • Walter Donovan, the main antagonist of the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Walter E. Kurtz, the main antagonist of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now
  • Walter Mitty, the title character in James Thurber's 1939 short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • Walter Nichols, a character in the Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh
  • Walter Sisulu (1912–2003), South African politician.
  • Corporal Walter Eugine "Radar" O’Reilly, from the 1968–1986 M*A*S*H franchise of books, movies, and television
  • Walter, one of the protagonists in the 2005 film Zathura
  • Walter Newell, secret identity of Stingray (comics), a Marvel Comics character since 1967
  • Walter Sobchak, Vietnam veteran and best friend of "The Dude" in the Coen Brothers' 1998 film The Big Lebowski
  • Walter White, the protagonist of the 2008–2013 TV series Breaking Bad
  • Dr. Walter Bishop, a scientist on the 2008–2013 TV series Fringe
  • Walter Joseph Kovacs, the secret identity of the vigilante "Rorschach" in Watchmen since 1968
  • Walter Blythe, a character in "Rainbow Valley" (1919), "Anne of Ingleside" (1939), and "Rilla of Ingleside" (1921)
  • Walter, a synthetic android introduced in the 2017 Ridley Scott film Alien: Covenant]]



Early modern[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ INL - Wouter
  2. ^ Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856), 1244f.
  3. ^ Walter surname distribution