20th-century coinage, of uncertain derivation. It may be a transferred use of a surname (itself of obscure origin). It seems to have been first borne by the American actor Darren McGavin (1922–2006). It came to public notice as the name of a character in the popular American television comedy series Bewitched, made in the 1960s, and has remained steadily popular ever since.
North German: of disputed origin; either a metonymic occupational name for a maker or seller of rope, from Middle Low German reep ‘rope’, or alternatively, a nickname for a feeble or very thin person, from Middle Low German ref, rif ‘body’, ‘skeleton’.