Medieval variant of Mervyn, resulting from the regular Middle English change of -er- to -ar-. Modern use may represent a transferred use of the surname derived from this in the Middle Ages. It is popular in the United States, where it is associated in particular with the American singer Marvin Gaye (1939–84) and the boxer Marvin Hagler (b. 1954).
English and Scottish: occupational name for a tailor, from Old French tailleur (Late Latin taliator, from taliare ‘to cut’). The surname is extremely common in Britain and Ireland, and its numbers have been swelled by its adoption as an Americanized form of the numerous equivalent European names, most of which are also very common among Ashkenazic Jews, for example Schneider, Szabó, and Portnov.