The Merfolk (or Merpeople) are legendary water-dwelling human-like beings. Folklore and mythology have plenty of examples of these beings throughout the ages in various parts of the world.

Some examples could be mermaids (Sirenas in Spanish) or mermen (Tritones in Spanish), although "merfolk" could include other creatures that are not necessarily half-human and half-fish in appearance (like the Japanese kappa, the sahuagin and kuo-toa from role games or the humanoid amphibian creatures from movies like "The Shape of Water" or "The Creature from the Black Lagoon").

Etimologically "merfolk" comes from mer- 1+‎ folk2.

Is there a word for "merfolk" in Spanish? If so, what is it?

1. sea; marine; applied to beings that are partly sea-creatures: mercow, mermaid, merman, merswine, mersnake

2. people in general; relating to the traditional art or culture of a community or nation. (Folklore is "the knowledge of the people". In Spanish we have both forms folklore and folclore)

  • 1
    Just for the heck of it I tried a roundabout method. Linguee found a German word, Meeresvolk, which Google Translate converted to "gente de mar." Not too far off from the idea I originally had, "criaturas de mar." (I thought of criaturas because you said some are not necessarily half human, half fish.) Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 3:40
  • también tiene folclor (forma que suelo usar yo) Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 13:45
  • 1
    Al googlear "Tritones y sirenas" aparece jessdharmaescritora.es/mitologia/mitologia-tritones-y-sirenas donde los llaman anfibios o "gente de mar". Hay otros resultados interesantes
    – DGaleano
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 16:14
  • OED: Origin: Formed within English, by clipping or shortening. Etymons: mermaid n., merman n.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 16:43
  • 3
    Llevo haciéndome la misma pregunta desde que tradujeron "who could the lucky merman be" por "quién será el joven afortunado" en la película de La Sirenita. Me preguntaba por qué no usaron "sireno" que habría quedado gracioso. No podían usar "tritón" porque ese es precisamente el nombre del padre de Ariel.
    – Charlie
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 18:10

2 Answers 2


The term "sirenos" is pretty commonly used in spoken Spanish in South America, there aren't a huge amount of legitimate hits on google but it does appear here and there (that second link is an in-the-wild use of "sirenos" as a translation for "merfolk", check out the graphics on the lower left hand part of the screen)

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    Sirenos is not on the RAE. Also I guess it is only used by people that do not know the correct way (tritón). Could you please be more specific about where in southamerica is that used because in the Colombia region where I live I have not seen it being used.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 16:10
  • This term is in common use among children in Peru and Chile. I have not heard it used elsewhere. The RAE is a useful resource but I do not think the absence of a term of this nature in its database has any bearing on anything Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 22:35

As a Spanish speaker I can tell you that "sireno" is correct; "tritón" is correct too, but the first one is more common, at least in Latin America.

  • Pero sireno no aparece en la RAE. Además deberías especificar donde en hispanoamérica es común porque en la región de Colombia donde vivo no lo es.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 16:06

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