Oliver (given name)

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Mort de Roland.jpg
Mort de Roland, depicting the death of Roland in The Song of Roland. One part of the story tells how Roland's best friend, Oliver, died with him.
Word/nameOld French
Region of originmedieval France, medieval England

Oliver is a masculine given name of Old French origin; Oliver is one of Charlemagne's retainers in the 11th-century Song of Roland.

The name was generally associated with the Latin term/name olivarius "olive tree planter",[1][2] but may have been connected with the Germanic names *wulfa- "wolf" and *χarja- "army",[3] or the Old Norse Óleifr (Ólaf); or a genuinely West Germanic name, perhaps from ala- "all" and wēra "true", or from alf "elf" and hari "army, warrior" (in both cases possibly cognate with Álvaro) and Greek name Eleutherios

Modern variants include French Olivier, Hungarian Olivér, Irish Oilibhéar or Oilibhéir, Scottish Gaelic Oilvreis,[4] Italian Oliviero, Spanish Óliver.

The name was introduced to England by the Normans.[5] It was commonly used in medieval England, but became rare after the Restoration, because of the unpopularity of Oliver Cromwell. The name was revived in the 19th century, possibly inspired by the title character of Dickens' Oliver Twist (1838). Pet forms of the English given name include Ollie and Noll.[5]

In 2013 it was the fifth most popular name for boys in Australia.[6]

Persons with the given name[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Piestrasanta, Silvestro (1682). "ELOGIUM GENTIS CARAFAEAE AC STEMMA PROCERUM EIUS". SYMBOLA HEROICA (in Latin). Amsterdam: Amstelaedami, Apud Janssonio-Waesbergios & Henr. Wetstenium. p. XXX (30).
  2. ^ Sweertius, Franciscus (1628). ATHENAE BELGICAE, SIVE NOMENCLATOR INFER (in Latin). Antwerp: Gulielmus a Tungris. p. 588–589.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Mark, Colin (2006), The Gaelic-English Dictionary, London: Routledge, p. 715, ISBN 0-203-22259-8
  5. ^ a b "Learn about the family history of your surname". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2 March 2010.. The webpage cited the following book: A Dictionary of First Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280050-7.
  6. ^ From 2013-17, Oliver was the most popular given name for baby boys born in England."Australia's 100 most popular baby names". Kidspot. 2 April 2013. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.