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What does Merlin mean?

Merlin Pronunciation of Merlin 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.


ASSOCIATED WITH sea, tales (literary), king, british (england)


VARIANTS Marlin, Marlon, Merle, Merlen, Merlinn, Merlyn, Merlynn

SEE ALSO Marvin, Mervin

OTHER FORMS VIA AMBROSE, MERVYN Marven, Marvyn, Merven, Mervin, Mervynn, Murvin, Murvyn



Merlin Remy (M.R.), ..

How popular is Merlin?

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 (#21230 out of 150436, Top 14%). (2000 U.S. DEMOGRAPHICS)

Merlin reached its top position of #310 in the U.S. in the 1920s, but is not listed at the moment. (2018 U.S. SSA RECORDS)

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Merlin name in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Merlin outside U.S.

Which version is better?

Marvin (#580 IN 2018), Marlon (#851), Ambrose (#1480), Marlin (#1807), Merle, Merlyn, Mervin and Mervyn are the popular variation forms of Merlin appearing in the Top 2000. Adoption of these forms of Merlin was widespread 9 decades ago (ADOPTION OF 0.55%) and is now significantly reduced (ADOPTION 0.05%, 90.5%), with versions like Mervin becoming somewhat outmoded.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Merlin, Ambrose, Marlin, Marlon, Marvin in U.S.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Merle, Merlyn, Mervin, Mervyn in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Merlin and related baby names outside U.S.

Similar Names

Merlin is alike in pronunciation to Marlan, Marlen, Marlinn and Marlonn. Other suggested similar-sounding names are Arlin, Bergin, Berlin, Berlyn, Bertin, Berwin, Burlin, Carlin, Derrin, Dervin, Derwin, Devlin, Deylin, Fermin, Ferrin, Garlin, Germin, Harlin, Herin, Jermin, Jerrin, Karlin, Keelin, Kellin, Kervin, Kerwin, Malin, Mallin, Marland, Marlond, Martin, Marwin, Maslin, Medvin, Medwin, Mellan, Mellen, Mellin, Mellon, Melvin, Melwin, Meril, Merit, Merrik, Merril, Merton, Merwin, Merwinn (see Mervin), Merwyn, Morfin, Morland, Newlin, Orlin, Perkin, Perrin, Terrin, Verlin, Verllin (see Verlyn), Verlon, Verlyn, Vernin and Weylin. These names tend to be less frequently used than Merlin.

See names
in meaning and etymology.