Meaning and Name Origin
Derek \d(e)-rek\ as a boys' name is pronounced DARE-ik. It is of English and Old German origin, and the meaning of Derek is "people's ruler". From Theodoric. Many phonetic variants have come into popular usuage. Basketball player Derrick Coleman; baseball player Derek Jeter.
Derek is a very popular first name for males (#163 out of 1220, Top 13%) but a unique surname for all people. (2000 U.S. Census)
Charted below is the baby name popularity of Derek for boys. Derek was first listed in 1940-1949 and reached its highest rank of #53 in the U.S. during the years 1980-1989, and is at #205 presently. (Top 1000 Birth Names Statistics, 2014)
Displayed below is a comparison of the popularity of Derek and affiliated names. Darrick, Dedrick, Dereck, Deric, Derick, Derik, Derrek, Derrick (#353 last year), Dirk, Rick and Ted are the prominent alternative forms of Derek (#205 last year). Adoption of these boy names was at its peak during 1970-1979 and has become much lower since, with versions like Derick, Derik, Dirk, Rick and Ted becoming somewhat dated. Derek (#205) and Derrick (#353) are two of the more chic names for newborns in this list. (Top 1000 Birth Names Statistics, 2014)