From an Old French personal name of Germanic (Frankish) origin, derived from wald ‘rule’ + heri, hari ‘army’. This was adopted by the Normans and introduced by them to England, superseding the native Old English form, Wealdhere. It was a very popular name in medieval England, normally pronounced ‘Water’.
English: 1. possibly from an unattested Old English personal name, e.g. Wihtling or Hwītling. 2. alternatively, a habitational name from Whitlinge, in Worcestershire, named from Old English hwīt ‘white’ + hlinc ‘ridge’.