Elaboration of Mary, with the addition of the productive suffix -lyn (see Lynn). It is recorded in the 18th century, possibly as a blend of Mary and Ellen, but first came into regular use in the 20th century, peaking in the 1940s and 50s. Since then its use has been surprisingly moderate, considering the enduring popularity of the film star Marilyn Monroe (1926–62), baptized Norma Jeane Baker.
English (Norfolk): occupational name from Middle English pointer ‘point maker’, an agent derivative of point, a term denoting a lace or cord used to fasten together doublet and hose (Old French pointe ‘point’, ‘sharp end’). Reaney suggests that in some cases Pointer may have been an occupational name for a tiler or slater whose job was to point the tiles, i.e. render them with mortar where they overlapped.