English, combination of Mary and Lynn
"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved + lake"

Marilyn Origin and Meaning

The name Marilyn is a girl's name of English origin meaning "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved + lake".

For a name that was in the Top 20 for a whole decade – the 1930's – Marilyn has attained the status of almost a one-person name. Just say the name Marilyn, and most people will know who you mean. Yet strangely enough, though Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jean and renamed in tribute to earlier star Marilyn Miller) was the sex symbol of her generation, very little stardust adhered to her name. In fact, when Mariah Carey wished to honor the star in her daughter's name, she chose to call her Monroe rather than Marilyn.

There have, however, been a number of other notable Marilyns, including opera singer Horne, novelist French and lyricist Bergman--not to mention male musician Marilyn Manson (nee Brian). Actress Kim Novak was born Marilyn.

The meaning of Mary is uncertain, but theories include "drop of the sea" (from Hebrew roots mar "drop" and yam "sea"); "bitter" (from Hebrew marah "bitterness"); and "beloved" (from the Egyptian root mr).

# 696 in the US

Marilyn Rank in US Top 1000

# 627 on Nameberry

Marilyn Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Marilyn Popularity

20 Names Similar to Marilyn

These 20 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Marilyn.

Famous People Named Marilyn

  • Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson/Baker)iconic American actress
  • Marilyn Pauline "Kim" NovakAmerican actress
  • Marilyn Chambersstage name of Marilyn Ann Briggs, American adult film actress
  • Marilyn HorneAmerican opera singer
  • Marilyn MesekeMiss America 1938
  • Marilyn BuferdMiss America 1946
  • Marilyn McKnightMiss America 1958
  • Marilyn DenisCanadian TV host
  • Marilyn (Keith) BergmanAmerican songwriter
  • Manfrey Lecta "Marilyn" DukeAmerican pop singer
  • Marilyn Miller (born Mary Ellen Reynolds)American actress
  • Marilyn McCooAmerican actress and singer of The 5th Dimension
  • Marilyn BorderAmerican actress; twin of sister Roz Borden
  • Marilyn FrenchAmerican feminist author
  • Marilyn Tucker QuayleSecond Lady of the U.S. as wife of VP Dan Quayle
  • Marilyn vos SavantAmerican advice columnist and record holder for highest IQ
  • Marilyn (Rovell) WilsonRutherford, American singer; first wife of musician Brian Wilson; mother of singers Carnie and Wendy Wilson
  • Marilyn Mansonstage name of Brian Hugh Warner, American male singer
  • Marilynstage name of Peter Robinson, Jamaican,British male singer
  • Marilyn LimaFrench actress

Marilyn in Pop Culture

  • Marilyn Trumancharacter on TV's "Will & Grace"
  • Marilyn Sudorcharacter on TV's "Boston Public"
  • Marilyn Lovellcharacter in film "Apollo 13"
  • Marilyn Whirlwindcharacter on TV's "Northern Exposure"
  • Marilyn Nesbitone time character in Law and Order: SVU
  • Marilyna Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door character

Marilyn in Nameberry Blog Posts