Derek is a male name. It is the English language short form of Diederik, the Low Franconian 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, Dereck, Derrick, and Deric. Low German and Dutch short forms of Diederik are Dik, Dirck, and Dirk.


The English form of the name arises in the 15th century, via import from the Low Countries. The native English 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. 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.

Given name

Arts and entertainment

see also

Use as a surname

Unlike the forms Dietrich and Dieter, Derek has not traditionally been used as a surname. It was however, used as a pseudonym by American actor John Derek, who was born Derek Delevan Harris, and was borne by his fourth wife Bo Derek.

Fictional characters

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