Its source is an English expression meaning "Hidden nook."
The name Darnell ranked 682nd in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of 2000-2003 Social Security Administration statistics and 476th in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census.
Though this name has fluctuated in use, it has been quietly present throughout the last century.
The derivation of this surname is not certain. It might have been influenced by the male name Darrel or by the darnel plant, a type of grass once regarded as an intoxicant.