noun (1)
mer·​lin | \ ˈmər-lən How to pronounce merlin (audio) \

Definition of merlin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small compact falcon (Falco columbarius) of the northern hemisphere having a broad dark terminal band on the tail and upperparts that are slate blue in males and brown in females


noun (2)
Mer·​lin | \ ˈmər-lən How to pronounce Merlin (audio) \

Definition of Merlin (Entry 2 of 2)

: a prophet and magician in Arthurian legend

Examples of merlin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Birds at Race Point in Provincetown included 2 black vultures, 2 Pacific loons, 130 red-throated loons, a Manx shearwater, 11 common murres, 62 razorbills, 9 Iceland gulls, and a merlin., 20 Apr. 2022 The region continued to host a summer tanager at a feeder at 73 Hadley Road in Sunderland, two black vultures in Greenfield, two Iceland gulls at Turners Falls, and a merlin in Orange., 29 Jan. 2022 At Plum Island, a merlin was noted along with an early dunlin and black guillemots; single black guillemots were also seen at Andrews Point in Rockport and in Gloucester Harbor., 31 July 2021 One has seen hummingbirds attempting to drive off migrating bald eagles at Hawk Ridge in Duluth in the fall and has photos of a hummingbird attacking a perched merlin. Val Cunningham Contributing Writer, Star Tribune, 3 Nov. 2020 Emperors flew eagles and vultures; kings flew gyrfalcons; and ladies flew merlins, a species favored by Mary, Queen of Scots, in the 16th century. Kate Donnelly, Travel + Leisure, 22 Apr. 2020 There were two Northern harriers and a short-eared owl at Southwick Wildlife Management Area, a rough-legged hawk along Old Greenfield Road in Montague, two merlins along Edendale Street in Springfield, and an Eastern phoebe at the Hadley Cove., 2 Feb. 2020 There was a merlin at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester and a Savannah sparrow was seen at the Wine Road agricultural fields in New Braintree., 2 Feb. 2020 There were reports of 120 white-winged scoters, five Western sandpipers, three American golden-plovers, three black skimmers, and three merlins., 23 Sep. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'merlin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of merlin

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for merlin

Noun (1)

Middle English merlioun, from Anglo-French merilun, alteration of esmerilun, diminutive of Old French esmeril, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German smiril merlin

Noun (2)

Medieval Latin Merlinus, from Middle Welsh Myrddin

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Time Traveler for merlin

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The first known use of merlin was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Merlin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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