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December 9, 2007

What does Corbin mean?

One of the most common questions we get asked as new parents is;

“Where did the name Corbin come from?”


The simple answer is nowhere. But I guess that’s not going to fly so here’s the deal.

One of the first names I wanted to consider was Calvin. A cool sounding name but a little too popular, especially in Reformed circles (see John Calvin). So that spurred Julia to look for alternate names that were of the same name category. Among those names was Corbin. Obviously it stuck well enough to beat out Benjamin – but not without a fight.

It wasn’t so much a fight but we wanted to wait until we met our son before making our final decision. Either way, Alexander was chosen as the middle name. It worked well with both first names and was a great transition into our last name. Neither Corbin nor Alexander are family names but Benjamin is Julia’s grandfather’s name (technically it’s Benny – who knew). We’ll save that for a future child.

So why didn’t we consider other great names? Well, we did. But all the great names we considered and liked had strong ‘S’ sounds like Sean and Joshua and Sylvester J. Pussycat, Sr. And with a last name starting with a strong ‘S’ sound I didn’t want the alliteration problems my sister faced.


The boy’s name Corbin \c(o)-rbin, cor-bin\ is pronounced KOR-bin. Possibly a short form of the rare given name Corbinian, or a transfered use of the surname, in origin a nickname meaning “crow” in Anglo-Norman. It is also the name of a place in Glencreran, Scotland, signifying a steep hill, from the Gaelic Cor-beann or Cor-beinn. Other meanings include the Latin – Raven-haired, raven, or dark as a raven

Corbin has 12 variant forms: Corben, Corbet, Corbett, Corbie, Corbit, Corbitt, Corby, Corbyn, Corvin, Cory, Korbin and Korbyn.


Famous Corbins:
Actor Corbin Bernsen – L.A. Law
Actor Corbin Bleu – High School Musical
Fictional Character Korben Dallas – Fifth Element
(different spelling but still cool)
In ‘Le Morte Darthur’ by Thomas Malory, the Holy Grail is found in the Castle of Corbin or Corbenic.

CORBIN is not to be confused with Corban from Mark 7:1-13 where Jesus condemns the Pharisees for encouraging the people to make special gifts to the Temple while neglecting their responsibility to take care of their parents.

Share on Twitter or posted to Corbin @ 9:28 pm


  • At 4:10 am on December 10, 2007, Wendy commented:

    I love finding out what the meaning is behind the name.
    I was told some time ago, that my name was made up for the story of Peter Pan. Whether or not that is actually true, I don’t know.

  • At 8:54 pm on December 11, 2007, Sirdar commented:

    I wonder if Calvin would fit better later in his younger years…you know…like Calvin and Hobbes? :-)

  • At 12:25 pm on December 12, 2007, DinkyInky commented:

    Gaelic is beautiful, is it not? Your son is so beautiful. My son kissed the laptop screen(kiss baby nitenite he said) then told me to turn it off so your baby could sleep. Children are so precious.

  • At 3:40 pm on December 12, 2007, archshrk commented:

    Wendy: It appears that your name is in fact from Peter Pan. It comes from the nickname fwendy (for friend). It’s also a familiar form of Gwendolyn and Wanda.

    Sirdar: I think (and hope) Hobbes would be more fitting.

    DinkyInky: Gaelic is beautiful. And your son is precious. There are other kids we know who love kissing babies too.

  • At 10:10 am on December 13, 2007, Radioactive Jam commented:

    Seems like a fine name to me. Of course now I want to watch The Fifth Element. Again. But that’s not a bad thing.

  • At 11:05 pm on December 15, 2007, Dawn commented:

    Corbin is a nice strong name. We know a boy of 14 who is named Corbin. A nice young man who has spent time with our son.

  • At 7:20 am on January 29, 2008, Anoymous commented:

    Corbin is a great name and I think it will age well.

  • At 2:49 pm on April 21, 2008, Corbin commented:

    My name is Corbin and very rare in my country, It would be a very good choice to give him this name :)

  • At 6:40 am on October 22, 2008, corbin commented:

    the name corbin has been around me family for senturies and also i am really realated to thomas jefferson and also i am related to three knights at the round table!!!!!!!

  • At 5:31 pm on September 10, 2009, corbin commented:

    my name is Corbin as well i think it is a great name it will be aged for years to come!:)

  • At 1:53 am on October 6, 2009, Valerie ( Corbyn) Smith commented:

    My surname is Corbyn,

    Not that many of us about. unlike my surname now :(

  • At 10:56 am on December 18, 2009, che del valle commented:

    my son’s name is corbin-lee i also wanted his initals to match mine. i thought i made that name up many yrs ago back in high school. so it did stick with me 22 yrs later. i love it and get many compliments about it. corbin-lee del valle.

    i would like that it stays so not common

  • At 7:53 am on November 11, 2012, Creighton commented:

    Great name. We just named our son Corbin Lee. Leigh is my wifes and my moms middle name, and my sisters middle name is LeighAnne. My dad and grandfathers middle name is Lee, as well as my wifes grandfathers middle name. For the same reasons as yourself I liked Corbin because of the originality. My name is Creighton and love that I’m the only one that turns around in a crowd when called and wanted a name that was also unique.

  • At 10:52 pm on June 9, 2010, C0rbin trinchera commented:

    My name is corbin. I was born on 0ct 7. 1990. Edgar allan poe died that day. He made the raven! Scary. And i recently had a son and named him corbin. Keep 0ur name alive!

  • At 4:30 pm on February 7, 2012, Elena commented:

    Corbin: from Micah, meaning Who is Like God, Hebrew

  • At 3:31 pm on April 26, 2012, Steve commented:

    My girlfriend and I are expecting later in the year and Corben is very much at the top of our list if we have a boy. I remember suggesting it to her and got a positive response. I felt I also had to admit it was Bruce’s character from the Fifth Element, worrying it would put her off, only to make her like it even more! Happy days! Can’t wait :)

  • At 7:48 am on November 11, 2012, Creighton commented:

    I have a 5 month old I just named Corbin. When I was 16 and The 5th Element came out I said to myself “If I ever have a son I’m going to name him Corbin”… 16 years later I had a son and my wife fell for it. =] When I tell people his name about 95% of the time people reply with “Like from 5th element?!” so that’s exciting. But while searching the actual history I came across your blog. Thanks for the info and excited to find out that coincidentally my name is Creighton which is very steeped in Scottish history, as my great grandparents last name was Crichton and their folks were from Scotland.


  • At 5:10 pm on January 16, 2013, Joe Wilbanks commented:

    Yes you are, as am I. Robert Corbin b. 1058 Henandura, Romainia. is one of the first in a patrilinneal line of descendents in my family until about 4 generations ago! 22 Generations! 4 or 5 brothers in the direct descendant line of Robert Corbin sailed to America in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s. Our lineage goes back before Robert Corbin possibly to St. Corbiana in 600 A.D. The Corbin family is the keeper of the 3 Ravens Crest, which states. “Probitus Verus Honus” or ” Honesty is True Honor.

  • At 7:24 pm on August 23, 2013, Elaine commented:

    Wanna hear something really wierd? We named our son (now 12) Corbin Grael….and have had to answer lots of inquiries on “why” his middle name is Grael….and our answer is always “it just sounded cool”. Now, after reading this about “the holy grail being found in the castle of Corbin” we have a MUCh better answer! THANKS!

  • At 3:07 am on April 15, 2015, Louise Whapshott commented:

    My son is called Corbin and he loves his name as do we. Quite like that it’s unusual especially with our surname being Whapshott!

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