Meaning & History
English (mainly northeastern England and West Yorkshire): habitational name from either of two places in Cumbria, or from one in the parish of Halsall, near Ormskirk, Lancashire. The Cumbrian places are probably named from Middle English hart ‘male deer’ + kerr ‘marshland’. The one in Lancashire has the same second element, while the first is probably Old English har ‘gray’ or hara ‘hare’. nickname for an eavesdropper or busybody, from an agent derivative of Middle English herkien ‘to listen’.