Origin and History of the name Derek

The name Derek which has been in the past a popular boys name in the United States has a rich in dating back to Medieval England. The Derek name actually dates all the way back to the 15th century. However, an even earlier variation on the name Deric could be found in birth records in England going back to the 14th Century.

The meaning of Derek as a name is derive from another name Theodoric, this name means gifted ruler and leader of people.

Famous People with the Name

Many notable individuals have the name Derek. In the acting field there are Derek Bond, Derek Cecil, Derek Martin, and Derek Luke just to name a few. In sports there are such personalities as Derek Johnson, Derek Miles, Derek Redmond and Derek Mills.


The popularity of Derek as a name first hit a high in British nobility in the 15th Century. However, over the years the name started to catch on in other countries including the United States. In fact, the Derek name made the list of the top 100 baby names for 25 consecutive years in the United States. The name peaked in the year 1970 breaking it onto the list and remained there till the year 1995.

However, in 2014, Derek was not in the top 100 baby boys’ names in England.

Useful Resources

Discover the meaning and origin of other English boys’ names on our website