Are siren and mermaid the same thing?


Each word redirects on a different page in Wikipedia, though both pages read the same subject...

asked May 06 '11 at 17:07 coraliecinq Contributor

1 answer


Tricky question-- this depends what version of the lore you're dealing with. Original siren lore (Greek and Roman, that is) says that sirens were bird-winged women with godly ancestry, and that they lived on islands, not in the ocean. In a physical sense, they resembled Christian angels. Mermaids were the ones that had fish tails and lived in the ocean.


Both sirens and mermaids were reputed to enchant men with their singing, and the later mythology blurred the line between the two so that "siren" became (in some places) a synonym for "mermaid." This is why the word "siren" is sometimes used today to describe the aquatic, fish-tailed mermaid. Chances are, if you describe the original bird-winged form of a siren, people won't know what you're talking about.

link answered May 06 '11 at 18:51 Collane Ramsey Expert

Thorough and informative... Thank you! coraliecinqMay 07 '11 at 22:15

Awesome -- I learned something new today! KimberlyMay 09 '11 at 17:47

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