Marilyn Name Meaning: Origins and Significance

Origins of the Name Marilyn

If you’re looking for a name with a rich history and a unique meaning, Marilyn might be the perfect choice for you. This name has its roots in several different languages and cultures, making it a truly global name that has been popular for many years.

Hebrew Roots

One of the primary sources of the name Marilyn is the Hebrew language. The original Hebrew name for Mary, the mother of Jesus, was Miryam. Over time, this name evolved into several different variations, including Marilyn. While the exact meaning of the name is not known, it is believed to be related to the Hebrew word for “bitterness”.

Combination of Mary and Lynn

Another source of the name Marilyn is the combination of two popular English names: Mary and Lynn. Mary is a classic name that has been popular for centuries, while Lynn is a more modern name that has become increasingly popular in recent years. By combining these two names, parents can create a unique and meaningful name for their child.

English Origin

Finally, Marilyn has its roots in the English language. This name was first recorded in the early 20th century and quickly became popular throughout the English-speaking world. While its exact meaning is not known, it is believed to be related to the Latin word for “sea”. This makes sense given that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is often referred to as the “Star of the Sea”.

In conclusion, Marilyn is a name with a rich and varied history. Whether you’re drawn to its Hebrew roots, its combination of Mary and Lynn, or its English origin, this name is sure to make a statement and leave a lasting impression.

Popularity of the Name Marilyn

If you’re considering naming your baby girl Marilyn, you might be interested in knowing how popular the name has been over the years. In this section, we’ll take a look at the popularity of the name Marilyn in the United States, as well as some trends and rankings.

Top 20 Rankings

Marilyn was a very popular name in the United States during the 1930s, when it was in the top 20 names for baby girls. It remained in the top 100 names for several decades, but its popularity has declined in recent years. In 2023, Marilyn ranked at #990, down 215 spots from the previous year.

Baby Name Trends

The name Marilyn has Hebrew origins and means “bitter”. It is a blend of the names Mary and Lynn. Marilyn has been a popular name for baby girls in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking countries.

20th Century Popularity

Marilyn’s peak popularity was in the 1950s, thanks in part to the American actress Marilyn Monroe. The name was also popular in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 21st century, the name has become less popular, but it still retains a certain classic charm.

In conclusion, while the name Marilyn may not be as popular as it once was, it still has a rich history and a timeless quality. If you’re considering the name for your baby girl, you can take comfort in knowing that it has a long and storied tradition.

Famous People Named Marilyn

If you are considering the name Marilyn for your baby girl, you should know that the name has been associated with several famous individuals who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. Here are some of the most notable Marilyns:

Marilyn Monroe

When you hear the name Marilyn, the first person who comes to mind is probably Marilyn Monroe. Born Norma Jean Mortenson, Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, model, and singer who became one of the most iconic figures in Hollywood history. She starred in several hit films, including “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “The Seven Year Itch,” and “Some Like It Hot.” Monroe was known for her beauty, charm, and talent, and she continues to be a cultural icon to this day.

Marilyn Horne

Marilyn Horne is an American opera singer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest mezzo-sopranos of all time. She has performed in leading roles at some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, and La Scala in Milan. Horne’s powerful voice and dramatic stage presence have earned her numerous accolades throughout her career.

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson, born Brian Hugh Warner, is an American singer, songwriter, and actor who is known for his controversial and provocative style. He has released several successful albums, including “Antichrist Superstar” and “Mechanical Animals,” and has been the subject of much controversy due to his use of satanic imagery and themes in his music. Manson has also appeared in several films and television shows, including “Sons of Anarchy” and “Once Upon a Time.”

Other Famous Marilyns

  • Marilyn McCoo: American singer and actress who was a member of the group The 5th Dimension.
  • Marilyn French: American feminist writer and literary critic.
  • Marilyn Vos Savant: American magazine columnist and author who is known for having one of the highest recorded IQs.
  • Marilyn Chambers: American pornographic actress and model who also appeared in mainstream films.

Overall, the name Marilyn has been associated with many talented and accomplished individuals throughout history. If you choose to name your daughter Marilyn, she will be in good company.

Meanings and Symbolism

Beloved and Bitter

The name Marilyn has its roots in the name Mary, which has Hebrew origins and means “beloved” or “wished-for child.” Marilyn is a variation or combination of this name, with an added twist of its own. The name Marilyn can also mean “bitter” or “sorrowful,” although this is a less common interpretation.

Star of the Sea

Another meaning of the name Marilyn is “star of the sea.” This interpretation comes from the Latin origin of the name, where “mar” means “sea” and “lyn” means “star.” This meaning is often associated with the Virgin Mary, who is sometimes referred to as the “Star of the Sea.”

Sex Symbol

Marilyn Monroe, the iconic actress and model from the 1950s, is perhaps the most famous person associated with the name Marilyn. Her beauty, charm, and sex appeal made her a symbol of femininity and glamour. As a result, the name Marilyn has become synonymous with beauty, sensuality, and sex appeal.

Overall, the name Marilyn has multiple meanings and interpretations, each with its own unique symbolism. Whether you see it as a symbol of love and devotion or as a representation of beauty and sensuality, the name Marilyn has a rich and complex history that continues to captivate people today.

Variants and Pronunciation

When it comes to the name Marilyn, there are a variety of variants and pronunciations to consider. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common variants of the name, as well as how to properly pronounce it.


The name Marilyn is typically pronounced as “MAIR-uh-lin” or “MAIR-uh-lyn”. The emphasis is usually placed on the first syllable, and the “lyn” sound at the end is pronounced like the word “win”.

Common Variants

There are several common variants of the name Marilyn, including:

  • Maralyn
  • Marelyn
  • Marilynn
  • Marlyn
  • Marylyn
  • Marrilyn
  • Marillyn
  • Merilyn
  • Merrelyn
  • Merrilyn

These variants often differ in spelling, but they are all pronounced similarly to the original name.

International Variants

The name Marilyn has variations in different languages and cultures. Here are some of the most common international variants:

  • Maria (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Mariam (Arabic)
  • Marian (Polish)
  • Mariana (Romanian)
  • Marlo (Dutch)
  • Miriam (Hebrew)
  • Amalia (Greek)
  • Violet (English)
  • Charlotte (French)

It’s worth noting that some of these names are not direct variants of Marilyn, but they have similar meanings or sounds.

Overall, the name Marilyn has a rich history and a variety of variants and pronunciations to consider. Whether you prefer the classic spelling or a unique variation, this name is sure to make a statement.

Historical and Cultural Context

1936 and US Context

To understand the historical and cultural context of the name Marilyn, it is important to look back at the year 1936. This was the year that the iconic Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe was born. At that time, the United States was still recovering from the Great Depression, and the entertainment industry was seen as a way to escape the hardships of daily life. Marilyn Monroe quickly became a symbol of classic Hollywood glamour and beauty, and her name became synonymous with success and fame.

Norma Jeane Mortenson

Before she became Marilyn Monroe, the actress was known as Norma Jeane Mortenson. She was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1926, and her childhood was marked by instability and trauma. Her mother, Gladys Baker, struggled with mental illness and was unable to care for her daughter. As a result, Norma Jeane was placed in foster care and orphanages for much of her early life.

Family and Behavior

Despite her difficult upbringing, Marilyn Monroe was able to achieve great success in her career. However, her personal life was often marked by turmoil and tragedy. She was married three times and struggled with addiction and mental health issues. In many ways, her life mirrored the cultural shifts that were taking place in the United States during the mid-20th century.

In terms of the name Marilyn, it is likely that its popularity was influenced by the success of Marilyn Monroe. However, the name also has a more traditional origin, as a combination of the names Mary and Lynn. In recent years, the name has become less common, but it remains a classic choice for parents looking for a name with historical and cultural significance.

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