Modern coinage, most common in North America. It is of unknown origin, probably a fanciful coinage based on Marlene or Charlene, or both. It became famous in the 1950s as the name of the American actress and beauty columnist Arlene Dahl (b. 1924).
English: topographic name for someone who lived near a bend, for example in a river, from Middle English bye ‘bend’ (from Old English byge, a derivative of būgan ‘to bow’). Reaney suggests that occasionally it may be from an Old English personal name of obscure origin.