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For the television series, see Derek (TV series). For the Hebrew term for "way", see Derekh (disambiguation). For the lifting device, see Derrick.
Derek, Derrek, Derick, Derrick, Derik.
Pronunciation /dɛrɪk/
Gender Male
Word/name short form of Diderik
Meaning see Theodoric
Other names
Related names Diderik, Dierk, Dieter, Dietrich, Dirk, Terry, Theodoric, Thierry, Tudor, Tudur

Derek is a male name. It is the English language short form of Dederik, the Low German form of the name Theodoric. Theodoric is an old Germanic name with an original meaning of "people-ruler".

Common variants of the name are Derrek, Derick, Derrick and Deric, more rarely also Deryck or 'Derrok'. The Dutch language short form of the same Low German / Low Franconian name is Dirk (popularised by the actor Dirk Bogarde) and the Low German Di(e)rk (Dierk Hoff).


Further information: Theodoric

The English form of the name arises in the 15th century, via import from the Low Countries. The native English (Anglo-Saxon) form of the name was Deoric or Deodric, from Old English Þēodrīc, but this name had fallen out of use in the medieval period. During the Late Middle Ages, there was intense contact between the territories adjacent to the North Sea, in particular due to the activities of the Hanseatic League. As a result, there was a lot of cross-pollination between Low German, Dutch, English, Danish and Norwegian. The given name Derk is found in records of the Low Countries from the early 14th century, and in the spelling Derck becomes rather common in name lists compiled in the Habsburg Netherlands during the early 16th century.[1] An early bearer of the name Derek was lord of Keppel, Gelderland, in the early 14th century. A Derek van Keppel, lord of Verwoelde, died in 1495 and was succeeded by his eldest son, also called Derek van Keppel. A later Derek van Keppel died in 1646, succeeded by Asewolt van Keppel, the father of Arnold van Keppel, who in 1688 was created Earl of Albemarle in the Peerage of England.[2]

Given name[edit]

Acting, presenting[edit]

Athletics (track and field)[edit]



  • Derek Anderson (born 1974), Professional basketball player
  • Derek Fisher (born 1974), American basketball player
  • Derek Grimm (born 1974), American basketball player
  • Derek Harper (born 1961), American basketball player and TV sports anchor
  • Derek Hood (born 1976), American basketball player
  • Derek Smith, (1961–1996), American basketball player
  • Derek Strong (born 1968), American basketball player and racing driver

Boxing and wrestling[edit]


Auto racing[edit]



  • Derek Drymon (born 1965), American writer and storyboard artist
  • Derek Ford (1932–1995), English film director/writer
  • Derek Harvie (born 1971), Canadian entertainment writer and producer, living in the U.S.
  • Derek R. Hill, film production designer
  • Derek Hough (born 1985), American dancer, choreographer, musician and actor
  • Derek Jarman (1942–1994), English film director, stage designer, artist and writer
  • Derek Lamb (1936–2005), American animation film-maker and producer
  • Derek Malcolm (born 1932), British film critic
  • Derek Meddings (1931–1995), British TV and cinema special effects expert
  • Derek Rath, photographer and radio programmer
  • Derek Smart, controversial designer of video games
  • Derek Yee (born 1957), Hong Kong film director

Football (American and Canadian)[edit]

Football (soccer)[edit]

Football (other rules)[edit]

  • Derek Edwards, rugby league footballer for Great Britain, Yorkshire, and Castleford
  • Derek Hallas, rugby union and rugby league footballer for Yorkshire (RU), Roundhay, Great Britain (RL), Yorkshire, Keighley, Leeds, and Parramatta Eels
  • Derek Howes, rugby league footballer for Wales, and Wakefield Trinity
  • Derek Murray (Gaelic footballer) Irish Gaelic footballer
  • Derek Noonan, rugby union and rugby league footballer for St. Helens (RU), England (RL), Lancashire, Warrington, St. Helens, and Fulham
  • Derek Turner (born 1933), rugby league footballer for Great Britain, England, Yorkshire, Hull Kingston Rovers, Oldham, and Wakefield Trinity
  • Derek Quinnell (born 1949), Welsh rugby union player
  • Derek Whitehead, rugby league footballer for Great Britain, Lancashire, Swinton, Oldham and Warrington
  • Derek Woodcock, Australian Rules football field umpire


Other sports[edit]

Painting, sculpture, fashion[edit]


Science, education and academic[edit]

  • Derek Abbott (born 1960), physicist and electronic engineer
  • Derek Barton (1918–1998), British physical chemist and Nobel Prize Laureate
  • Derek Bickerton (born 1926), linguist and academic
  • Derek Birley (1926–2002), academic and educator
  • Derek Blake, academic and research scientist
  • Derek Bok (born 1930), American lawyer and educator
  • Derek Briggs (born c. 1945), Irish paleontologist
  • Derek Denny-Brown (1901–1981), British neurologist
  • Derek Hirst (born 1948), English historian of early-modern Britain
  • Derek Hockridge, British translator, lecturer and expert in French society and culture
  • Derek Hopwood, British academic and author
  • Derek Long (born 1925), former professor of structural chemistry at the University of Bradford, working in the field of Raman spectroscopy
  • Derek McCormack, New Zealand biochemist and academic
  • Derek Morley (1920–1969) independent science consultant and journalist noted for study of ants
  • Derek Parfit (born 1942), British philosopher and academic
  • Derek Price (1922–1983), information scientist and science historian
  • Derek Ratcliffe (1929–2005), British nature conservationist
  • Derek Roe, British paleolithic archeologist and academic
  • Derek Summerfield controversial psychiatrist and writer
  • Derek Taunt (1917–2004), British mathematician and codebreaker
  • Derek van der Kooy (born c. 1955), scientist and academic working in stem cell research

Ice Hockey[edit]



Spelling variants[edit]




see also Special:Prefixindex/Derick


Use as a surname[edit]

Unlike the forms Dietrich and Dieter, Derek has not traditionally been used as a surname. It was however, used as a pseudonym, and adopted as legal surname,[year needed] by American actor John Derek (1926–1998), who was born Derek Delevan Harris, and via him by his daughter Sean Catherine Derek (born 1953) and his wife Bo Derek (born 1956).

Fictional characters[edit]


Since 1940, the name Derek was most popular in the 1980s in the United States.

Popularity of Derek" since 1940
RANKS 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
2010s 170 181 182
2000s 121 132 139 149 156 172 159 142 159 168
1990s 54 59 62 67 77 83 101 106 110 114
1980s 50 53 50 51 52 56 57 54 53 54
1970s 77 63 67 69 74 83 84 82 75 72
1960s 247 205 187 177 172 166 141 123 122 109
1950s 470 407 363 378 362 331 300 283 256 254
1940s 714 953 ^ 956 891 862 641

Rank 1 is the most popular, rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth.
^ Rank > 1000
Source: Social Security Administration.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ see Gerhard Dumbar, Het kerkelyk en wereltlyk Deventer (1752) for an edition of name lists of Deventer. See also Ubbo Emmius, De agro Frisiae inter Amasum et Lavicom Syntagma (1646) for an edition of late medieval name lists from Frisia.
  2. ^ Arthur Collins, The peerage of England (1779)
  3. ^ "Popular Baby Names". Social Security Administration. 

External links[edit]