masc. proper name, in Old Testament name of the second king of Israel and Judah and author of psalms, from Hebrew Dawidh, literally "darling, beloved friend." The name was common in England and Scotland by 12c. but was popular much earlier in Wales. A nickname form was Dawe, hence surnames Dawson, Dawkins. A top 10 name for boys born in the U.S. from 1934 to 1992. Related: Davidic; Davidian.
"star of David," six-pointed star, symbol of Judaism or Zionism, 1904, from Hebrew maghen Dawidh "shield of David," king of Judah and Israel, who died c. 973 B.C.E.
also david, "crane-like structure on the side or stern of a vessel for suspending or lowering a boat," late 14c., daviot, apparently a use of the masc. proper name David on the pattern of applying common Christian names to useful devices (compare jack, jenny, jimmy).
as a generic name or designation for a great actor, 1640s, from Quintus Roscius Gallus (d. 62 B.C.E.), the celebrated Roman actor. Since 19c., mostly (if at all), historical and in reference to David Garrick.