Meaning and Name Origin
Merlin \m(e)-rlin, mer-lin\ as a boys' name is pronounced MER-lin. It is of Welsh origin, and the meaning of Merlin is "sea fortress". Mythology: Arthurian tales describe Merlin as the wizard who was King Arthur's mentor. Myrddin, the wizard who tutored King Arthur in British legend was known as Myrddin Emrys. Writers translated this into Latin as Merlin Ambrosius, and into English as Mervyn. It was a mistake as the first part of the name was a Welsh place name for the seacoast town of Carmarthen. Emrys was the personal name and a Welsh version of Ambrose. So Merlin probably means "Ambrose of Carmarthen", and is only vaguely related to Mervyn and its variants. Football player Merlin Olsen.
Merlin▼ has 25 more different forms via Ambrose, Mervyn: Am, Ambie, Ambroeus, Ambroggio, Ambrogio, Ambroise, Ambros, Ambrosi, Ambrosio, Ambrosios, Ambrosius, Ambrossij, Ambroz, Ambrus, Amby, Brose, Emrys, Marven, Marvyn, Merven, Mervin▼, Mervynn, Murvin, Murvyn and Murvynn.
Merlin is a somewhat prominent first name for males (#725 out of 1220, Top 59%) and an even more prominent last name for both adults and children (#16824 out of 88799, Top 19%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Displayed below is the birth name popularity of Merlin for boys. Merlin was first listed in 1890-1899 and reached its top position of #320 in the U.S. during the years 1920-1929, but is not listed at the moment. (2014 Birth Statistics)
Below is a charted analysis of the popularity of the boy name Merlin and related names. Marvin (#492 in 2014), Marlon (#747), Mervin, Mervyn, Merlyn, Merle, Marlin and Ambrose are the popular variation forms of Merlin appearing in the Top 1000. Adoption of these boy names was at its apex during the years 1920-1929 and is now significantly lower, with versions like Marlon, Marvin, Merlyn, Mervin and Merlin becoming somewhat outmoded. (2014 Birth Statistics)