Family name origins & meanings
- English and Scottish : topographic name for someone who lived on the slope of a hillside or by a riverbank, from northern Middle English banke (from Old Danish banke). The final -s may occasionally represent a plural form, but it is most commonly an arbitrary addition made after the main period of surname formation, perhaps under the influence of patronymic forms with a possessive -s.
- Irish : Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Bruacháin ‘descendant of Bruachán’, a byname for a large-bellied person. The English form was chosen because of a mistaken association of the Gaelic name with bruach ‘bank’.