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).
German, Dutch, and Jewish (Ashkenazic): nickname for a left-handed person, from Middle High German linc, Dutch linker, links, Yiddish link ‘left (side)’. In Europe left-handed people were long regarded with suspicion as clumsy, awkward, deviant, and even untrustworthy.