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Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): habitational name for someone from Karlin, a suburb of Pinsk in Belarus, in which the Jews formed the majority of the population until the Holocaust. A well-known Hasidic sect originated in Karlin and at one time it attracted so many followers that a (now obsolete) Russian word for ‘Hasid’ was Karliner (of Yiddish origin). It is possible that at least some people taking this surname did so because they were members of this sect and not because they were born or lived in Karlin.