First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Reef

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Reef mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Reef

User Submitted Meanings

  • A submission from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines says the name Reef means "Freindly" and is of English origin.

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International Interest
Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Reef
  1. A chain or range of rocks lying at or near the surface of the water. See Coral reefs, under Coral.
  2. [Mining] A large vein of auriferous quartz; -- so called in Australia. Hence, any body of rock yielding valuable ore.

Etymology: Akin to D. rif, G. riff, Icel. rif, Dan. rev; cf. Icel. rifa rift, rent, fissure, rifa to rive, bear. Cf. Rift Rive

noun Reef
That part of a sail which is taken in or let out by means of the reef points, in order to adapt the size of the sail to the force of the wind.

Note: ☞ From the head to the first reef-band, in square sails, is termed the first reef; from this to the next is the second reef; and so on. In fore-and-aft sails, which reef on the foot, the first reef is the lowest part.

Etymology: Akin to D. reef, G. reff, Sw. ref; cf. Icel. rif reef, rifa to basten together. Cf. Reeve (v. t.) River

verb Reef
To reduce the extent of (as a sail) by rolling or folding a certain portion of it and making it fast to the yard or spar.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. One of several strips across a sail that can be taken in or rolled up to lessen the area of the sail that is exposed to the wind
  2. A rocky region in the southern Transvaal in northeastern South Africa; contains rich gold deposits and coal and manganese
  3. A submerged ridge of rock or coral near the surface of the water
  4. Reduce (a sail) by taking in a reef
  5. Roll up (a portion of a sail) in order to reduce its area
  6. Lower and bring partially inboard ("reef the sailboat's mast")

From Middle English ref, hreof, from Old English hrēof (“rough, scabby, leprous", also "a leper”), from Proto-Germanic *hreubaz (“rough, scabby, scrubby”), from Proto-Indo-European *kreup- (“scab, crust”), related to Old English hrēofla (“leprosy, leper”). Cognate with Scots reif (“a skin disease leaving crusts on the skin, the scab”), Old High German riob (“leprous, scabby, mangy”), Icelandic hrjúfur (“scabby, rough”). Compare riffe, dandruff.

  1. (Now chiefly dialectal) The itch; any eruptive skin disorder.
  2. (Now chiefly dialectal) Dandruff.

From earlier riff, from Middle English rif, from Old Norse rif (“rib, reef”), from Proto-Germanic *ribją (“rib, reef”), from Proto-Indo-European *rebh- (“arch, ceiling, cover”). Cognate with Dutch rif (“reef”), Low German riff, reff (“reef”), German Riff (“reef, ledge”), Old English ribb (“rib”). More at rib.

  1. A chain or range of rocks, sand, or coral lying at or near the surface of the water.
  2. (Australia, South Africa) A large vein of auriferous quartz; hence, any body of rock yielding valuable ore.
  3. (nautical) A portion of a sail rolled and tied down to lessen the area exposed in a high wind.
  4. A reef knot.

    reef was also found in the following language(s): Dutch

    Notable Persons Named Reef

    Reef The Lost Cauze is a hip hop music musician. His ongoing career started in 1998. Reef was given the name Sharif Talib Lacey on December 30th, 1981. Reef is also known as Sharif, Reef, and Lost Cauze.


    Reef Karim is a radio host. Reef was born Reef Karim in Yorkshire.


    Reef Mesika is a soccer player for the Hapoel Kfar Saba F.C., Beitar Nes Tubruk F.C., Maccabi Netanya F.C., Maccabi Herzliya F.C., Hapoel Nir Ramat HaSharon F.C., Hapoel Herzliya F.C., Hapoel Rishon LeZion F.C., Hapoel Bnei Lod F.C., Hapoel Tel Aviv F.C., Hapoel Ra'anana A.F.C., and Israel nationa. Reef was born on June 15th, 1989 in Netanya.


    Reef Peretz is a soccer player for the Hapoel Ramat Gan Givatayim F.C., Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C., Hapoel Nir Ramat HaSharon F.C., and Hapoel Petah Tikva F.C. Reef was born on February 25th, 1991 in Hod HaSharon. Reef is also known as ריף פרץ (Hebrew).


    Reef Messika is a sports team member for the Hapoel Kfar Saba F.C.


    How popular is the baby name Reef in the U.S.?

    Click Here to Show Chart Data
    Year Total Babies Born Girls Born Boys Born
    1996 6 0 6
    1997 6 0 6
    1998 9 0 9
    1999 9 0 9
    2000 10 0 10
    2001 14 0 14
    2002 24 0 24
    2003 16 0 16
    2004 27 0 27
    2005 32 0 32
    2006 47 0 47
    2007 39 0 39
    2008 51 0 51
    2009 51 0 51
    2010 64 0 64
    2011 72 0 72
    2012 58 7 51
    2013 54 5 49
    2014 54 0 54
    2015 51 0 51
    2016 57 0 57
    2017 50 0 50
    * Years where the name was given to 5 or fewer babies will show zero to respect privacy.

    Where is the name Reef popular?

    International Interest for Reef

    Interest is based how many people viewed this name from each country and is scaled based on the total views by each country so that large countries do not always show the most interest. Darker blue on the map indicates that people in the country are more likely to search for this name.

    Longer bars in the bar graph indicate that people in the country are more interested in the name. Not all countries that have shown an interest in the name are listed in the bar graph.

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    United Kingdom
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    Popularity in the US

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    Popularity of Reef as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Reef as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Ohio, Indiana, or Missouri.

    Common first names for Reef

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Reef U.S.
      White 91.03% 64.26%
      African American 3.28% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.00% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 1.55% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 2.76% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Reef

    People with the last name Reef are most frequently White

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Reef

    • How Popular is the name Reef? Reef is the 12,125th most popular name of all time. As a last name Reef was the 38,214th most popular name in 2010.
    • How many people with the first name Reef have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 801 babies born with the first name Reef in the United States. That's more than enough people named Reef to occupy the country of Vatican City with an estimated population of 800 (as of March 1, 2011).
    • What year were 5 or more babies first named Reef? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1996 when it was given as a first name to 6 new born babies.
    • When was Reef first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Reef is Monday, December 25th, 1871.
    • What year had the most people named Reef born? The highest recorded use of the first name Reef was in 2011 with a total of 72 babies.
    • Random Reef Factoid: According to the 2017 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name Reef is not a popular baby boy's name in Hawaii. Imagine that, only 6 babies in Hawaii have the same name as you in 2017.
    • Weird things about the name Reef: Your name in reverse order is Feer. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Eefr. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Reef? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 580 people with the last name Reef.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Reef? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Reef as their last name since less than 1 person in 500k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

    What Reefs Have Visited This Page?

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.