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As a title
- Nayak title was given by Vijayanagara rulers to their feudatories, who later established themselves as independent kingdoms as Nayak kingdoms after the downfall of Vijayanagara Empire in South India.
- Nayak title was given to the ministers of the Goan Kingdom.
- Naik title was conferred to the Hindu Sardars by rulers of Maratha Empire.
- Naik title was used by the Raja's of Phaltan State.
- Even the British has adapted this title for their army personnel. Nayak was a title which was in force in Mysore especially for the army personnel of distinction.[self-published source]
As a surname
- In Assam some members of the aboriginal Keot(Kaibarta) community use Nayak as their surname.
- In the south region of Gujarat the district of Valsad, Navsari and Surat, Anavil Brahman uses Naik Surname (Naik's are also considered under Desai Community)
- In Goa and coastal parts of Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, members of the Saraswat Brahman community(SB, GSB, RSB, etc.) use this surname.
- In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Naik surname is adopted as surname by several tribal communities like Lambadis, Sugali, or Banjara.
- The Muslim Siddis of Karnataka, use the surname Naik which they received as title from Bijapur Kings.
- In Konkan coast of Goa and Maharashtra, Naik surname is used by Naik Marathas.
- In Maharashtra the surname Naik is used by Marathas, CKPs, Chitpavan Brahmins, and Deshastha Brahmin communities.
- In Tamil Nadu Vanniyar caste use Nayakkar, Naicker, Nayagar as Surname or Title. 
- In Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, other versions of the surnames such as Naidu and Naicker are used by people belonging to Kapu, Balija, Telaga, and Kamma castes.
- In Raigarh region of chhattisgarh surname is used by people belongs to aghariya cast also people of this group write Naik, Patel, Nayak and Choudhary.
- In Kerala, the Nair caste comes from Nayak(a) hailing from Northern India
- Kathleen Gough (2008). Rural Society in Southeast India. Cambridge University Press. p. 436. ISBN 9780521040198.
- Shivaji, the Great Maratha, Volume 1. Genisys Publishing. 2002. p. 116. ISBN 9788177552850.
- Anwar Haroon (2013). Kingdom of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan: Sultanat e Khudadad. Xlibris Corporation. p. 15. ISBN 9781483615363.
- Kumar Suresh Singh (2002). People of India: Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 54. ISBN 9780195644449.
- Kumar Suresh Singh (1993). Tribal Ethnography, Customary Law, and Change. Concept Publishing Company. p. 249. ISBN 9788170224716.
- Shanti Sadiq Ali (1996). The African Dispersal in the Deccan: From Medieval to Modern Times. Orient Blackswan. p. 226. ISBN 9788125004851.
- Pra. Pā Śiroḍakara, H. K. Mandal (1993). People of India: Goa. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 225. ISBN 9788171547609.
- Anupama Rao (2009). The Caste Question: Dalits and the Politics of Modern India. University of California Press. p. 315. ISBN 9780520257610.
- Chockalingam Joe Arun. Constructing Dalit Identity. p. 43. ISBN 9788131600818.
- A.Vijay Kumari. Social Change Among Balijas: Majority Community of Andhra Pradesh. M D Publications. p. 89. ISBN 9788175330726.