Will Walter Become More Popular?

I love Walter--gentlemanly, with a long rich history, and a kicky nickname. It's obviously masculine but not agrressively macho. Also, I love Walt Whitman. It's #393 in the US (which is a little more popular than I anticipated), which means it gets used, but it's not all over the place.

But with the Walt-focused Breaking Bad ending this year and the upcoming release of the movie version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty coming out, is Walter about to make a big jump? It's sort of in that sweet spot of great-grandparent names at the moment, but I'm not sure if it still carries too fusty of an air about it. (Obviously I don't think so. What do you think?) It doesn't fit too many of the other boy-name trends at the moment. How high do you think it will go?


By jmay
December 17, 2013 10:16 PM

I think it will get more popular, but not crazy popular...I can't see it reaching the top ten, or even the top 100. It doesn't quite hit enough on trend enough for that. It doesn't end in "n", it isn't biblical, it doesn't have that bright "a" sound. Breaking bad raised its visibility, but a number of people won't see the association as positive. I can definitely see it climbing into the 200's or so though. 

December 18, 2013 12:33 AM

A Walt Disney biopic (with Tom Hanks as Walt) is just about to open which will give the name additional visibility, although frankly one would have to live under a rock to avoid Walt Disney references.  Walter brings Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Walter Scott to my mind, a chivalrous name indeed.  OTOH there is the decidedly avuncular Walter Cronkite, hard to picture him as a toddler. The traditional nickname for Walter is Wat.  I agree that the sounds aren't overly fashionable, but -er isn't that far behind "ending in -n" in the popularity parade.  Perhaps its the t in the middle that's a little off in terms of sound.

December 18, 2013 8:22 PM

I had forgotten about the Mary Poppins movie! That, too might raise Walter's profile. I am glad to hear my instinct that, while it might be heard a bit more widely, it's not likely going to skyrocket. I, too, tend of think of it as kind of chivalrous, and, since I missed out on the Walter Cronkite era, it's more courtly to me than cranky. But I was worried about the "-er" ending putting it in the same boat as those other occupational names that are so popular right now, both because its medieval assocations and because of the ending. But that hard T does make it sound distinctly different than Cooper and Fletcher.

I had thought of Wat, along with Walt, as a possible nickname. It's charming, certainly, but it seems unwise to give your child such a...rebellious...nickname. Plus, I link Wat Tyler with Jack Cade in my mind, and he's such an unpleasant fellow in 2 Henry 6 that I'm not sure I could overcome the association. (Is that true for you, too, Miriam? We share some professional interests, I think.) Which is a shame, since it tend to be drawn to 1-syllable nicknames that begin with W (Win, Ward, etc.) 

December 31, 2013 11:05 AM

I never thought to link Wat Tyler to Jack Cade, different rebellions.  But Wat Tyler and Jack Straw, definitely, same rebellion.  And then there's Jack (John Whitaker) Straw, current British Labour Party MP and former holder of major cabinet posts under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.  Jack Straw, seriously....

December 26, 2013 11:16 AM

There are quite a few Walters in the movies right now! Besides Walter Mitty and Walt Disney, the main character in Anchorman 2 has a young son called Walter. I would love to see it gain some popularity, it sounded so cute on the little boy in the movie! However, I don't think it will skyrocket. I would love to see it jump at least 10-15 spots this year, which I think is very possible.