The English family name Stunkard is classified as being of habitation origin. This term denotes names who's origin lies in the place of residence of the initial bearer of the name. Habitation names tell us from whence hailed the progenitor of the family; they can give us the exact location of the residence of the initial bearer and some will even indicate "one who came from Stankard", the name of some unidentified spot in England, so called from either Middle English "stank" meaning "pool" or the Old English "staener" meaning "stoney or rocky place". It is also possible that this surname is of personal name origin, denoting ''son of Stunkard", a varient of the Old English first name Stanheard meaning "stone hard". Varients of the surname Stunkard include Stankard, Stanard, Stanhard, and Stannard and this surname is also found in Ireland, having been introduced by English settlers.
One of the earliest references to this name or to a varient is a record of one Stanhard or Stanardus who appears in the Domesday Book from 1066. Samuell Stankard, who was baptized in Whickham, Co Durham, in 1648 and William Stankard and Catherine Micklefeild were married in Saint Dunstan, Stepney, East London, in 1784. The marriage of Thomas Stankard and Sarah Fuller took place in Christ Church, Grayfriars Newgate, London, in 1804. This name was introduced to North America as early as 1785 in which year we find record of the emigration of James Stunkard, who settled in Delaware. The name could of coarse have been first introduced to that country at an earlier date.