The name is originally thought to either have been derived from the Old French “criquet”, meaning “goal, post, or stick” or from the Middle Dutch “kricke”, meaning “stick” or “staff”. The latter Middle Dutch derivation from “kricke” is generally considered more likely due to the strong medieval trade connections between south-east England and Flanders, which belonged to the Duchy of Burgundy.
One more obscure possible source was proposed by European language expert Heiner Gillmeister of Bonn University. He proposed that the name cricket comes from the Middle Dutch phrase for hockey, “met de krik ket sen”, which means “with the stick, chase”. Early cricket was played with a stick that resembled more a hockey stick than the modern day cricket bat. He also proposed that cricket was Flemish in origins.
The game of cricket itself is thought to have been played as early as the 13th century, with the first direct reference to it appearing in 1598 in a court case which referenced a game called “krekett” (sometimes spelled “creckett”) being played at the Royal Grammar School in England in 1550.