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English (chiefly West Country): topographic name for someone who lived by a stream, Old English lacu, or a habitational name from a place named with this word, for example in Wiltshire and Devon. Modern English lake (Middle English lake) is only distantly related, if at all; it comes via Old French from Latin lacus. This meaning, which ousted the native sense, came too late to be found as a place name element, but may lie behind some examples of the surname.