Gender Masculine
Pronounced Pron. MUR-lin(English)  [key·IPA]

Meaning & History

Form of the Welsh name Myrddin used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 12th-century chronicle. Writing in Latin, he likely chose the form Merlinus over Merdinus in order to prevent associations with French merde "excrement".

Geoffrey based parts of Merlin's character on Myrddin Wyllt, a legendary madman and prophet who lived in the Caledonian Forest. Other parts of his life were based on that of the historical 5th-century Romano-British military leader Ambrosius Aurelianus (also known as Emrys Wledig). In Geoffrey's version of the tales and later embellishments Merlin is a magician and counselor for King Arthur.

Related Names

User SubmissionsMerlín, Merlin


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Depiction of Merlin and Vivien by Gustave Doré (1875)Depiction of Merlin and Vivien by Gustave Doré (1875)


Entry updated December 7, 2022