Last name origins & meanings:

  1. Spanish and southern French (Occitan): from Spanish and Old French rey ‘king’ (from Latin rex, genitive regis), which could have been applied any of in numerous ways: it may have denoted someone in the service of a king; it may have been from the title of someone in a brotherhood; or a nickname for someone who behaved in a regal fashion or who had earned the title in some contest of skill or by presiding over festivities.
  2. English: variant spelling of Ray 1, cognate with 1.
  3. German: from a short form of a Germanic personal name formed with ragin ‘counsel’.
  4. German: nickname for a leader of dancing or singing, from Middle Low German rei(e) ‘(line) dance’, ‘(satirical) song’.
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