1 English: from the Old Norse personal name Eiríkr, composed of the elements eir ‘mercy’, ‘peace’ + rík ‘power’. The addition in English of an inorganic H- to names beginning with a vowel is a relatively common phenomenon. It is possible that this name may have swallowed up a less common Germanic personal name with the first element heri, hari ‘army’.2 Dutch: from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements heri, hari ‘army’ + rīc ‘power’, or from an assimilated form of Henrick, a Dutch form of Henry .3 Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hEirc ‘descendant of Erc’, a personal name meaning ‘speckled’, ‘dark red’, or ‘salmon’. There was a saint of this name. The surname is born by families in Munster and Ulster, where it has usually been changed to Harkin .
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.