Biblical name (meaning ‘bee’ in Hebrew), borne by the nurse of Rebecca (Genesis 35:8) and by a woman judge and prophet (Judges 4–5) who led the Israelites to victory over the Canaanites. It has always been popular as a Jewish name. It was in use among Christians by the mid 16th century and was taken up by the Puritans in the 17th century, in part because the bee was a symbol of industriousness. Since then it has enjoyed enormous popularity, peaking in the 1960s. Among other famous bearers is the actress Deborah Kerr (1921–2007).
English (especially Yorkshire) and Scottish: occupational name for a fuller, Middle English walkere, Old English wealcere, an agent derivative of wealcan ‘to walk, tread’. This was the regular term for the occupation during the Middle Ages in western and northern England. Compare Fuller and Tucker. As a Scottish surname it has also been used as a translation of Gaelic Mac an Fhucadair ‘son of the fuller’.