What is the origin of the last name Drake?

The last name Drake has its origins in medieval England, derived from the Old English word "draca," meaning dragon. It was often used as a nickname or a metonymic occupational name for those who exhibited qualities associated with a dragon, such as fierceness or bravery. Over time, the surname Drake spread throughout the British Isles and beyond, carried by individuals who may have been associated with dragon symbolism, mythical creatures, or perhaps even those who hunted dragons.

Countries of origin for the last name Drake

The last name Drake has origins in both English and Dutch languages. In English, it is derived from the Middle English word “drake,” which means a male duck. The name was likely used as a nickname for someone who resembled a duck in some way, such as having a duck-like walk or a prominent nose. It may have also been used as a name for someone who worked with or hunted ducks.

In Dutch, the name Drake is a variant of the surname Driest, which means “dry” or “thirsty.” It is believed that the name may have originally been a nickname for someone who had a reputation for being thirsty or perhaps lived in an arid or dry area. Over time, the spelling and pronunciation evolved to become Drake.

The surname Drake first appeared in written records in England in the 13th century. It was initially concentrated in the counties of Gloucestershire and Devon, where the Drake family held ancestral lands. Sir Francis Drake, the renowned English sea captain and explorer, is the most famous individual associated with the name. His achievements during the Elizabethan era contributed to the popularity and recognition of the surname Drake.

The surname Drake has spread beyond its English and Dutch origins and can now be found in various parts of the world, including the United States. It is ranked among the top 1,000 surnames in the United States, indicating its relatively common usage. Many individuals with the surname Drake have made notable contributions in different fields such as music, sports, and literature.

The meaning behind the surname Drake is closely connected to ducks and water. It signifies a connection to nature and a possible association with characteristics attributed to ducks, such as agility, adaptability, and resourcefulness. The name may also evoke notions of exploration and adventure, inspired by the seafaring legacy of Sir Francis Drake.

While the origins and meaning of the surname Drake can shed light on its cultural and historical significance, the individual histories and stories of those who bear the name add depth and complexity to its legacy. Each family’s unique experiences and contributions contribute to the larger tapestry of the Drake name, creating a sense of continuity and shared heritage.

Interesting facts about the last name Drake

  • The surname Drake is of English origin.
  • It is derived from the Middle English word “drake,” which means male duck.
  • The surname Drake was originally a nickname for someone who resembled a duck or had some characteristic associated with ducks.
  • The Drake family has a long history in England and can be traced back to the medieval period.
  • Sir Francis Drake, the famous English explorer and naval captain, is perhaps the most well-known bearer of the surname.
  • The surname Drake is relatively common in English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia.
  • There are also variations of the surname, such as Drakes and Draker.
  • The surname Drake has been used as a given name as well, likely due to the association with the notable explorer.

Name Rank


There are around 61162 people with the last name Drake in the US

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