Recorded as Wank, Wanck, Wancke, the diminutive Wankel, the occupational Wankmuller (Germany), and in England as Wanklin, Wankling, and Wanklyn, all diminutives, this is a surname of pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon and early German origins. It has two possible meanings in its base forms, although as a compound such as Wankmuller, meaing a miller by a path, the options are greatly increased. The base form translations are either topographical and describe person who lived by a path or bye road (wank), or the same word used in a transferred sense as a medieval nickname for a person regarded by his friends or peer group, as having a fickel personality! In most countries in Europe, surnames from nicknames form one of the largest groups in the surname listings. Those surnames considered overly robust or obscene, of which there were many, have now disappeared, or have been replaced by gentrified versions. In this case early examples of the surname recordings in both countries include Haintz Wankmuller of Hindelang, Germany in 1451, Hans Wank in the charters of Kempten also Germany, in 1454, Dorothie Wanklyn who married Robert Davies at the church of St Benet Fink, in the city of London on May 16th 1585, and Ambrose Wanklin christened at St Pauls, Covent Garden, on August 27th 1713.
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