Beck (Baker, Brook, Beak) ...
While researching the surname Beck, I came across 3 meanings that I'm fairly certain are accurate. However, I am uncertain which language each of the meanings actually derives from.Any one have any opinions or help? I included the meanings, as well as the languages and the possible word that the meaning derives from.
"Stream, Brook"
Bec (Old Norman French)
Beck (North German)
Beck (Swedish / Scandinavian)
Bek (Middle English)
Beke (Low German)
Bekk (Scandinavian)
Bekke (Middle English)
Bekkr (Old Norse)
"Baker"
Beck (South German)
Becke (Middle High German)
Bek (West Yiddish)
"Beak"
Bec (Old French)
Beke (Middle English)

This message was edited by the author 3/21/2006, 1:15 PM

vote up1vote down

Replies

The languages listed under "stream" and "baker" are all Germanic, apart from the Norman French. Bec as a Norman place-name component is one of several imported by the Norse settlers who gave Normandy its name.
The English "beak" is a borrowing from the French bec which is traceable to the Latin beccus (same meaning).
Beck is still used for stream in my neck of the woods, East Yorkshire. I always took it for granted that that was the origin of the English surname. However the Dictionary of English Surnames says differently. There three explanations are given:
i) from plces called Bec in Normandy.
ii) from bec meaning "beak", referring to the size or shape of the original bearer's nose.
iii) from Old English Becca, meaning "pick-axe".
vote up1vote down
Forgot to mention, though I'm sure you'll know, that the German surname Beck is one the names for a baker. I think the German cognate of Beck, "stream", is Bach.
"Plces" in the above should be places.
vote up1vote down