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 by an arable enclosure, normally adjoining a house, Middle English croft. There are several places in England named with this word (Old English croft), and the surname may equally be a habitational name from any of them.