Oliver (given name)

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This article is about the given name Oliver. For etymology and Scottish Oliver family, see Oliver (Scottish surname). For the family name, see Oliver (family name). For other uses, see Oliver (disambiguation).
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.
Gender masculine
Word/name Old French
Region of origin medieval 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).

Modern variants include French Olivier, Hungarian Olivér, Irish Oilivéar, Scottish Gaelic Oilvreis,[4] Italian Oliviero, Spanish Oliverio.

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. ^ "Australia's 100 most popular baby names". Kidspot. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-10.