Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Marlene

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, German
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 983
MAHR-leen; mahr-LAY-nə
Simple meaning:
Mary Magdalene, Tower

Characteristics of Marlene

  • Freedom-loving
  • Adventurous
  • Adaptable
  • Intellectual
  • Easygoing
  • Progressive
  • Sensual

Etymology & Historical Origin - Marlene

The origin of Marlene can be found in Germany. The name was created through the combination of two other names: Maria and Magdalene, obviously in homage to Mary Magdalene from the New Testament. The name Marlene is akin to Madeleine which the French coined in honor of Magdalene as well. In the Bible, Mary Magdalene is the most important of Jesus’ female disciples, and so called Magdalene because she was from Magdala, a village on the Sea of Galilee (Magdala comes from a Hebrew word meaning “tower” or an Aramaic word meaning “elevated, great”). Magdalene is a vital component of Mary’s name in the Bible and used to differentiate her from the other significant Marys, i.e., Mary the Virgin Mother or Mary of Bethany. In Luke 8:2 Mary Magdalene was one of the women who had been “healed of evil spirits and infirmities”; later associated with prostitution. Post-resurrection, Mary Magdalene was the first person to whom Jesus appeared. That Jesus would first appear to a woman and not a man is a notable event indeed! It underscores the importance of women to His ministry. By the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene had become a very popular saint. Her feast day is July 22 and she is also the patroness saint to wayward women. The Germans have historically used Maria Magdalene and Marlene in veneration to Mary Magdalene while the French honor the saint’s name with Madeleine and the Spanish use Magdalena. The English have borrowed all three forms of this name as well. When it comes to the pronunciation of Marlene, the Germans say mahr-LAY-nə while the English cut the name to two syllables: MAHR-leen.

Popularity of the Name Marlene

Marlene made her debut on the American naming charts in 1920. Most likely, the name was introduced to the repertoire of female names in the United States by German-Americans . However, what really impacted the popular usage of the name Marlene was sultry German actress Marlene Dietrich (born Maria Magdalene Dietrich). Dietrich achieved international fame with the release of “The Blue Angel” in 1930 (Der Blaue Engel in Germany) and promptly moved to Hollywood where she made many well-known films and became a household name. Marlene Dietrich had everything to do with the sudden trendiness of her first name in America. In two years alone (1930-1931) the name advanced over 500 spots up the charts. Throughout the 1930s and into the early 40s, Marlene became a Top 100 favorite girl’s name in the U.S. (reaching her peak popularity in 1935 and 1936 at position #39 on the charts). After the 1940s, the name began its slow and steady decline down the charts. By the end of the 20th century, it appeared as if Marlene was settling on a plateau of moderate usage. However, in very recent years, the name took a major and sudden drop on the charts and is now used sparingly (rarely, really). Marlene is no longer a fashionable name choice for girls, and parents today are probably not familiar with the husky-voiced, smoldering femme fetale actress dating back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Marlene Dietrich was definitely a “towering” image on film, just as this pretty and now-underused name feels “elevated and great”. We do like the three-syllable German pronunciation best, though.
Popularity of the Girl Name Marlene
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Marlene

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Marlene

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Marlene

    Marlene Dietrich (Biography by Maria Riva) Marlene Deitrich was considered one of the most glamorous stars of her day. A determined perfectionist with an incredible ego, her beauty, her style, her sense of the outrageous, made her a star. In this candid, illuminating, and detailed biography full of photographs, her only daughter Maria Riva, tells the incredible, fascinating, story of the star's life and career, loves and hates, hits and misses, as only a daughter can. The New York Times says: "Gossipy... Elabroately detailed...Greatly entertaining. Riva leaves no sequin unturned."

  • Popular Songs on Marlene

    Popular Songs on Marlene

    Lili Marlene - a song by Carly Simon

    Lili Marlene - a German song by Marlene Dietrich

    Lili Marlene - a song by Vera Lynn

    Marlene - a song by Todd Rundgren

    Marlene on the Wall - a song by Suzanne Vega

    Too Late Marlene - a song by Duran Duran

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Marlene

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Marlene

    Marlene - We cannot find any children’s books featuring a character named Marlene.

  • Famous People Named Marlene

    Famous People Named Marlene

    Famous People Named Marlene - Marlene Dietrich (iconic film actress); Marlene Bauer Hagge (golfer)

  • Children of Famous People Named Marlene

    Children of Famous People Named Marlene

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Marlene - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Marlene.

  • Historic Figures

    Marlene - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Marlene Dietrich (27 Dec 1901 – 6 May 1992) - Marlene Dietrich was born Maria Magdalene Dietrich on December 27, 1901 in Berlin, Germany. She began using Marlene as her professional stage name in her late teens because her parents disapproved of her acting career. Dietrich quickly became successful in her native Germany and starred in the country’s first “talkie” (movie with sound) which was made by Hollywood director Josef von Sternberg. An English version of “Der Blaue Engel” (The Blue Angel) was also released in America and catapulted Dietrich to superstardom. The sultry, husky-voiced beauty often played the roles of an unapologetic femme fetale nightclub dancer or lounge singer. She redefined notions of femininity in many ways. Some of her most notable films after The Blue Angel include Morocco, Shanghai Express, The Devil Is a Woman, Witness for the Prosecution and Judgment at Nuremberg. Her acting career spanned about 40 years and by the time she was in her 50s, Marlene focused on her also successful singing career giving performances throughout North America and Europe. She settled in Paris in her 80s and famously became a recluse, forbidding the world to see her in her advanced stages of age. She lived to be 90 years old and is buried next to her mother in Berlin.

Personality of the Girl Name Marlene

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Variations of the Baby Name - Marlene

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