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A mermaid is a mythological aquatic creature with a female human head, arms, and torso and the tail of a fish. A male version of a mermaid is known as a "merman" and in general both males and females are known as "merfolk".


What are Mermaids?
Mermaids are mythological creatures, that are aquatic. Mermaids have a female human head, and torso, and they have a tail of a fish. Mermaids are thought to be enchantresses of the ocean, who lure and woo men to their deaths through the sound of their songs. It is said that mermaids can sometimes foresee the future. Mermaid lore is found in societies through out the world.

The word "mermaid" comes from the the French word "mer" meaning sea, and the word maid to represent a girl or young woman.

Legends about mermaids are said to pervade almost all cultures around the world.

Foreign Names for Mermaid

Merry Maids
Carribean Islands:
Celtic: Caesg
Danish: Maremind
German: Meriminni
German: Lorelei
Greek: Nerine
Greek: Parthenope
Greek: Siren
Iceland: Marmenill
Iceland: Marbendlar
India: Apsara
Ireland: Merrows
Ireland: Muirruhgach
Italian: Sirena
Japan: Ningyo
Latin: Nymphamarina
Philippine: Meerfrau
Philippine: Merefolk
Philippines: Sirena
Philippines: Siyokoy
Russian: Marina
Scandanvian: Havmand
Scandanavian: Merwife
Scandanavian: Morgens
Scandanavian: Neck
Scottish: Murdachan

Other Names: Sea Nymphs, Sirens, Sea Sirens, Merfolk, Aphrodites Spawn, Water Spirits, Water Babies, Nereid, Naiad, Nix, Ocean Nymph, River Nymph,Water Elf, Water Sprite, Merpeople, Sea Maids, Sea Maiden, Sea People, Sea Queen, Siren Tritons, Undersea Folk, Underwater Folk, Water Babies, Water Maid, Merlady, Merfish, Merpeople, Ben-Varry, Catao

History: Many of the mythology surrounding mermaids start with a mermaid as a water deity. The first known mermaid stories developed from Assyria circa 1000 BC. The story is that the Syrian goddess Atargatis dove into a lake to take the form of a fish, the powers would not allow her to sacrifice her great beauty, so only her bottom half became a fish.

Iconic Symbols: Iconic symbols that are often associated with mermaids are a mirror and comb, as well as their talent to sing and lure unsuspecting sailors and men, with their beauty and music. In medieval churches mermaids were thought to represent the sin of both pride and vanity, and the sin of lust. Mermaids are thought to be sexy and mysterious.

Did You Know?

The most recent reported sighting of a mermaid was said to be in 2012 in Zimbabwe.


Mermaid Photo
Mermaid Picture

Meanings: Mermaids are have contradictory meanings in different cultures, some believe that mermaids grant wishes and assist sailors. Other cultures believe that seeing a mermaid indicated bad luck and it was an omen of an impending storm, shipwreck or death. While still others believe that mermaids hypnotize men through their song, causing the man an early demise.

Myths in Culture:

Britain: In British lore mermaids foretell disaster as well as provoking it.

China: Chinese legends include mermaids as sea-dragons and the dragon-wives. In ancient Chinese tales mermaids could turn their tears into valuable pearls. They could also weave, a beautiful, translucent fabric. As a result fishermen longed to catch them, but the mermaids' singing would simply drag them down into a coma.

Cornish: In Cornish legend it is said that a mermaid heard a man singing in the church choir, and fell in love through his song, he returned the affection and went out to sea to live. It is said you can still hear the man signing in the waves.

Danish / Scandinavia: A young mermaid girl at the age of 15 year becomes curious and swims to a ship. On the ship, she falls in love with the prince. A storm comes, wrecks the ship and drowns the prince. The mermaid saves the prince and takes him to dry land. When other humans arrives she dives into the sea to hide. The mermaid goes to the sea witch to get a potion, to become human, after drinking the potion, the mermaid magically becomes human.

German: In German mythology, there was a beautiful young maiden named Lorelei. Lorelei's true love rejects her because she can not resist the advances of other young men. Lorelei is sentenced to spend the rest of her life in a nunnery. On the way to the nunnery, she passes cliff above the Rhine. She sees a boatman, and jumps off the cliff to be with him. Death was said to transform Lorelei into a siren. Since then, many boatmen have been lured onto the dangerous rocks by Lorelei's singing.

Greek & Roman: Triton, Poseidon and Neptune, Gods from Greek and Roman mythology are often depicted as being half-man and half-fish.

India: In Indian mythology, A merman, Matsya Avatar is the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He has the lower body of a fish, and upper part like that of a man with four arms. Matsya Avatar, holds a conch shell and wheel in two hands, while the other two are holding a lotus or a mace.

Irish: In Irish folklore it was believed that mermaids could transform into humans through the removal of a cap or sea-skin. Sailors were told to hide the sea-skin, so they could marry the mermaid and live with them. In almost all legends the sea-skin was recovered and the mermaid was forced to return to the sea.

Japan: Japanese legends not only include mermaids, but also sea-dragons and the dragon-wives. In Japanese mythology it is said that eating the flesh of a mermaid can grant immortality.

Russia: In Russian lore mermaids are said to be the daughters of a water-king, the mermaids were said to be water-nymph that drowns swimmers.

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