Crane comes from an English surname, originating as a nickname for a tall, thing man or someone with long legs, or had any perceived likeness to the bird. The name comes for Old English cran via Proto-Germanic *kranô which derives from PIE root word *gerh₂- (to cry hoarsely; crane). Crane could also be a variant spelling of Krane, a Dutch surname, or Krahn, a German surname, both of which refer to the crane.
The crane has also been symbolic in many cultures, symbolizing longevity, happiness, loyalty, and faithfulness. In Japanese legend there is a belief that if a person folds one thousand origami cranes then that person’s greatest wish will be granted. Sadako Sasaki, a victim of an atomic bomb dropped near her home in Japan during WW II, is best remembered for folding one thousand origami cranes as she was dying in the hospital, and there’s even a book written about it, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
In Greek myth, cranes were considered a symbol of love, joy, and life, but they were also seen as birds of omen. In the legend of Ibycus, Ibycus was killed by a band of thieves but before he dies he sees cranes flying overhead and tells them to catch his murderers and avenge his death. The cranes followed the thieves to a theater where they were enjoying themselves and loomed over them, until they finally confessed to the murder.
Crane is also a word, a verb used to describe someone stretching out their neck to get a better look at someone, as well as the name of a machine used to lift and move heavy weights in suspension. There’s also a martial arts technique known as the Fujian White Crane style inspired by the movements of the crane (considered fluid and graceful).
- Krane (English, Dutch)
- Crayne (English)